LaRose: A Novel

Erdrich’s immersive novel, her first since 2012, opens with two unspeakable events. First, Landreaux Iron, a recovering alcoholic, accidentally shoots his neighbor’s 5-year-old son while hunting. Then, after he and his wife, Emmaline, ponder their options in the sweat lodge, a traditional Native American solution comes to them: They’ll have to give the bereft Ravich family their own beautiful, loving 5-year-old, LaRose, to raise as their own. As the years pass, the families arrive at a delicate balance, agreeing to share LaRose. Erdrich suffuses the book with her particular sort of magic—an ability to treat each character with singular care, weaving their separate journeys flawlessly throughout the larger narrative, and making each person’s pain feel achingly real. All the while, she adds new depth to timeless concepts of revenge, culture, and family. A–