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Immediately upon returning to his North Dakota Chippewa reservation, Lipsha Morrissey--having failed in the outside world--falls head over heels in love with the beautiful Shawnee Ray. She is the fierce and ambitious mother of the illegitimate son of Lyman Lamartine, owner of the Bingo Palace and a powerful force on the reservation. Lyman is determined to marry Shawnee Immediately upon returning to his North Dakota Chippewa reservation, Lipsha Morrissey--having failed in the outside world--falls head over heels in love with the beautiful Shawnee Ray. She is the fierce and ambitious mother of the illegitimate son of Lyman Lamartine, owner of the Bingo Palace and a powerful force on the reservation. Lyman is determined to marry Shawnee Ray, who is just as determined to elude him and go to college. When Lipsha goes to work for Lyman, he also enters into a battle for Shawnee Ray's affections, calling first on the magic of tribal elder Fleur Pillager, then on luck, and finally on traditional tribal religion. Erdrich's fourth novel is at once comic and moving, magical and realistic, and filled with evidence of her awesome descriptive powers. The affecting ending makes the reader hungry for more.


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Immediately upon returning to his North Dakota Chippewa reservation, Lipsha Morrissey--having failed in the outside world--falls head over heels in love with the beautiful Shawnee Ray. She is the fierce and ambitious mother of the illegitimate son of Lyman Lamartine, owner of the Bingo Palace and a powerful force on the reservation. Lyman is determined to marry Shawnee Immediately upon returning to his North Dakota Chippewa reservation, Lipsha Morrissey--having failed in the outside world--falls head over heels in love with the beautiful Shawnee Ray. She is the fierce and ambitious mother of the illegitimate son of Lyman Lamartine, owner of the Bingo Palace and a powerful force on the reservation. Lyman is determined to marry Shawnee Ray, who is just as determined to elude him and go to college. When Lipsha goes to work for Lyman, he also enters into a battle for Shawnee Ray's affections, calling first on the magic of tribal elder Fleur Pillager, then on luck, and finally on traditional tribal religion. Erdrich's fourth novel is at once comic and moving, magical and realistic, and filled with evidence of her awesome descriptive powers. The affecting ending makes the reader hungry for more.

30 review for The Bingo Palace. Signed Limited Edition

  1. 5 out of 5

    Gina

    OH LOUISEY, YOU DAWG! IT'S SO HARD TO EVEN BEGIN TO REVIEW THIS BOOK, BUT WE POOR SUBLUNARY CREATURES WANT TO UNDERSTAND WHAT'S GOIN ON UP THERE IN THE EXALTED SPHERES. Okay no more shouting Alleluias in bold face: let's get down to work: I follow the dictums given to my students eons ago to decipher the novel's meaning. We deconstruct according to five topics: SETTING: We are somewhere in and around The Dakotas. Fargo is mentioned but the setting becomes very "Pan's Labyrinth" so we are deep OH LOUISEY, YOU DAWG! IT'S SO HARD TO EVEN BEGIN TO REVIEW THIS BOOK, BUT WE POOR SUBLUNARY CREATURES WANT TO UNDERSTAND WHAT'S GOIN ON UP THERE IN THE EXALTED SPHERES. Okay no more shouting Alleluias in bold face: let's get down to work: I follow the dictums given to my students eons ago to decipher the novel's meaning. We deconstruct according to five topics: SETTING: We are somewhere in and around The Dakotas. Fargo is mentioned but the setting becomes very "Pan's Labyrinth" so we are deep into the woods, in sweat tepees, in dusty arenas hosting Native American dance competitions. We are most importantly in the harrowing, barren but sometimes ravishing landscapes of the characters' minds. All of these places are unforgettable in details that pique and arouse the senses. Even Erdrich's description of a seemingly tiny item like a baby's moccasin shimmers in its singularity. CHARACTER: I wasn't going here until last but it's hard to keep from proclaiming: what a cast! Shakespeare would have been proud to set these folk in motion. Yes, there is the flawed hero and his fair lady--Lipsha Morrissey and Shawnee Ray Toose. Witches and villains abound and all of the above (who are connected by rather incestuous ties) enact the most incredible deeds. They are informed by their ancient Chippawa customs and lore and tainted by the encroaching Western World, so stay tuned for the outcome of an epic battle between good and evil. THEMES: check the last paragraph above about characters. Good novels cover most of the basic themes and they are popping up here: the power of love to defeat hate; the injustice of social repression; the evils of racism; the destructive power of greed, lust, envy, gluttony, pride, and the other two capital sins which elude me at the moment. TONE: You want sad; it's here. You want hilariously funny; ditto, and surreal and frightening finish off Erdrich's palatte. The segment in which Lipsha and his n'er-do-well father, Gerry Nanapush steal and car (and a baby) and drive through a blizzard stands out as well as the scene where Fleur Pillager, the Ancient Matriarch of the tribe comes to town to gamble in a white cadillac accompanied by a ghostly young avatar of herself. These examples are not spoilers, just tantalizing coming attractions. Great novels run the gamut of tones. Dip your toes into this one; the water's fine. PLOT: Well, we are all adults and are use to the modernist techniques of jumping about. Our minds, which hopefully do not run along linear paths (lest we die of boredom), are habituated to the flashback, the flash forward, the leap into the surreal, the change of narrators, as well as allusions to previous books involving these characters. That proposition being accepted, readers (with a bit of back-tracking),will follow the yellow brick road to the end. And what an ending. I think it ended really well. This is not a Harlequin Romance.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jessika

    Louise Erdrich is one of my favorite authors, hands down. She is a slow read for me, but that doesn't detract from my love for her. Her writing is not for everyone--her stories are told in a very non-linear way. But y'know, I like that. It takes me a long time to read & a bit longer to process, but I like that. Erdrich's writing makes me think & it makes me feel. It might be different to read a non-linear storyline, but it feels very reminiscent of a normal human thought process. Not to Louise Erdrich is one of my favorite authors, hands down. She is a slow read for me, but that doesn't detract from my love for her. Her writing is not for everyone--her stories are told in a very non-linear way. But y'know, I like that. It takes me a long time to read & a bit longer to process, but I like that. Erdrich's writing makes me think & it makes me feel. It might be different to read a non-linear storyline, but it feels very reminiscent of a normal human thought process. Not to mention, she just has a way of putting things into words that takes my breath away. My copy of this book is simply riddled with favorite quotes.  As for the plot, you can tell that Erdrich draws on a traditional oral storytelling background. The story meanders, forward & backward, dipping into & out of reality. These characters are some of my favorites, too. For as much as he got on my nerves, I couldn't help but feel bad for (and also somewhat fond of) Lipsha. Shawnee Ray has become one of my favorite of Erdrich's characters. I hope to see her make her own choices & her own happy ending. Fleur Pillager was another of my favorites, she was such a mystical character.  All in all, I can't really put my finger on what it is that I loved about The Bingo Palace & Louise Erdrich. She isn't for everyone, but I have adored everything I've read of hers, including this one. If you are looking for an introspective read, I highly suggest The Bingo Palace, as well as Erdrich's other books. 

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tasha

    I may not have been fully engaged with the story the entire time but I still really enjoy Erdrich's writing so still a 4 star.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth (Alaska)

    Lipsha Morrissey is probably the least likely of all central characters. He is a ne'er-do-well extraordinaire. He sweeps the floors at the bingo palace and is sometime night watchman. But he loves Shawnee Ray Toose and we cannot help but feel for him. Not sorry for him, but want him to find a way to make a life with her. But she's not having anything to do with him - he is a Morrissey for one thing. The Bingo Palace is so much more than this love story, it's impossible to put into words. I think Lipsha Morrissey is probably the least likely of all central characters. He is a ne'er-do-well extraordinaire. He sweeps the floors at the bingo palace and is sometime night watchman. But he loves Shawnee Ray Toose and we cannot help but feel for him. Not sorry for him, but want him to find a way to make a life with her. But she's not having anything to do with him - he is a Morrissey for one thing. The Bingo Palace is so much more than this love story, it's impossible to put into words. I think it is the most spirtual of the Erdrich novels I've yet read, perhaps more so even than Tracks. To share some of that would be to take it out of context, which would be unfair to both the author and the reader. One of my Goodreads friends, upon finishing Love Medicine, said she was exhausted. Erdrich will do that to you. Early in my membership at Goodreads, someone told me Erdrich puts her characters through a lot, and this cannot be said enough. Pain comes to us from deep back, from where it grew in the human body. Pain sucks more pain into it, we don't know why. It lives, and we harbor its weight. When the worst comes, we will not act the opposite. We will do what we were taught, we who learnt our lessons in the dead light. We pass them on. We hurt, and hurt others, in a circular motion. Louise Erdrich is my favorite author. It was difficult to realize this one is not worth 5 stars, but it is very close. The Bingo Palace takes place on the reservation but includes many of the same characters in her previous novels that took place in Argus, North Dakota. It isn't necessary to have read those, but some of the references would be more easily understood having done so.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Rena Jane

    This will go down as one of my favorite books by Louise Erdrich, but it's part of a trilogy, and its so long since I read the first two, that now I want to go back and read them, and put it into context. Sometimes Erdrich's cultural perspective to keep the story cyclical loses me at the end of her books, but this one made perfect sense. And the strength and determination of absolute, all-encompassing love is beautifully demonstrated in Lipshaw's mother and father, as well as in his own life. This will go down as one of my favorite books by Louise Erdrich, but it's part of a trilogy, and its so long since I read the first two, that now I want to go back and read them, and put it into context. Sometimes Erdrich's cultural perspective to keep the story cyclical loses me at the end of her books, but this one made perfect sense. And the strength and determination of absolute, all-encompassing love is beautifully demonstrated in Lipshaw's mother and father, as well as in his own life. Fleur Pillager even makes a final appearance, joining her family, as the story closes. The passionate and dangerous love of Lipshaw and Shawnee is beautifully drawn in the center of the book, making for a well-defined plot mover. Including the politics of tribal gaming in the characters and action of the novel gave the story the modern twist, but allowed for the cultural and emotional story to weave the generations and the characters through a well-known, but seldom told saga of reservation life. Erdrich has written a wonderful novel, and I can't wait to reread it in the order the trilogy was written.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Brittany Wilmes

    OK, so I didn't start in the best place when choosing an introduction to Erdrich, but it was her only tome on the shelves of my local library. Erdrich's writing is lovely and generous and wild, evoking a people and a way of living that I can only wistfully imagine. I loved her characters' stubborn faults, their ability to imagine and strive and stumble within their limits, and their rich, wild language of love. Her writing sometimes made me nervous (for all the ways hearts can leap and bolt and OK, so I didn't start in the best place when choosing an introduction to Erdrich, but it was her only tome on the shelves of my local library. Erdrich's writing is lovely and generous and wild, evoking a people and a way of living that I can only wistfully imagine. I loved her characters' stubborn faults, their ability to imagine and strive and stumble within their limits, and their rich, wild language of love. Her writing sometimes made me nervous (for all the ways hearts can leap and bolt and trip and soar), but mostly made me feel the spark and reverence of a wholehearted life. I'm looking forward to more of her writing soon.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nick

    I reread The Bingo Palace with hopes of inching it into four star territory. But upon second reading, I still can’t in good conscience give the novel anything but three. The first half of the book is great. It positions at the center of the narrative a good old-fashioned love story that begins at a pow-wow which the author describes wonderfully, where the two protagonists meet and Lipsha develops his all-consuming passion for Shawnee Ray. Erdrich keeps this love story central while she whirls I reread The Bingo Palace with hopes of inching it into four star territory. But upon second reading, I still can’t in good conscience give the novel anything but three. The first half of the book is great. It positions at the center of the narrative a good old-fashioned love story that begins at a pow-wow which the author describes wonderfully, where the two protagonists meet and Lipsha develops his all-consuming passion for Shawnee Ray. Erdrich keeps this love story central while she whirls the stories of the various characters, familiar from her other novels, around its axis. The second half of the novel is more problematic. It is, in essence, a series of vision quests, dreams and hallucinations. In the middle of these, the love story remains paramount, for the most part. But a long digression occurs involving a jail break, a plane crash, and getaway in a stolen car on a snowy night – all of which may or may not be “real” in the line of the story. (I guess the events are real, for in the epilogue-like fragmentary last chapters other characters hear about these things from the police and on the radio. But the exact occurrences are very confusing. And their relationships to the previous events of the story are nebulous.) Among these hallucinatory sequences are some beautiful images. My favorite is the story that comes from the sweat lodge vision of Lyman Lamartine, Shawnee Ray’s other boyfriend and Lipsha’s rival for her affections, who happens to be Lipsha’s uncle. His brother Henry had died by drowning, probably complicated by PTSD left over from his Vietnam experience, and Lyman had in sorrow taken Henry’s “fancy dancing” clothes and worn them when he danced at pow-wows. During his sweat lodge experience, Lyman dances for the first time without wearing Henry’s clothes; it’s a moving experience of the shedding-of-grief while at the same time embracing it. But the beauty of these, and other, dreams and their effect on the protagonists, doesn’t help in discerning what actually happens in the second part of the story. I’ve read reviews where readers who approached the book long ago say that today they can’t remember what happened – and I was much the same way. Upon rereading, I’ve come to believe that we can’t remember things happening – because they didn’t actually happen.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    Very boring indeed! I struggled through the first forty pages, where too many different characters were introduced and then sort of left hanging. Thereafter, most of the book was about a young man who got infatuated by a girl. This part was really dragged out and nothing much happened. Then the end section reverted back to all the other people who had been introduced at the outset. Technically, the problem with the book was that it was disjointed, that the main protagonist was not in the least Very boring indeed! I struggled through the first forty pages, where too many different characters were introduced and then sort of left hanging. Thereafter, most of the book was about a young man who got infatuated by a girl. This part was really dragged out and nothing much happened. Then the end section reverted back to all the other people who had been introduced at the outset. Technically, the problem with the book was that it was disjointed, that the main protagonist was not in the least bit interesting, and that the sections of first person narrative were repetitive and didn't really advance the narrative. I suppose my main problem was that this was a ghost story and - here is a newsflash - ghosts don't exist. So I am baffled by any writer who chooses a ghost as a deus ex machina. Anyway, it didn't work for me. If I learned anything, it was that some native Americans have a mindset that makes them unable to function in the modern world. But I would have been much more interested in the peripheral characters who were doing something with their lives. I also hated the ending. It was as if Louise Erdrich suddenly lost interest and wound up the story as fast as possible. All in all, a very disappointing book. I think this writer needed a good editor who could have pointed out the structural problems of the book before it got into print.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Bucket

    I have a favorable impression now that I've finished, but in the beginning I really wondered if I would like this. There are so many characters within the first ten or so pages and I absolutely could not keep them straight - especially since they are all inter-related in various ways. As the book went on, I figured out which ones mattered here and ignored the rest, but before I got to that point I did a lot of looking back. I wonder if this problem would have been less apparent if I had read the I have a favorable impression now that I've finished, but in the beginning I really wondered if I would like this. There are so many characters within the first ten or so pages and I absolutely could not keep them straight - especially since they are all inter-related in various ways. As the book went on, I figured out which ones mattered here and ignored the rest, but before I got to that point I did a lot of looking back. I wonder if this problem would have been less apparent if I had read the other novels Erdrich has written about these characters in Argus, ND. I have the sense that some of them are only mentioned in this novel because they are featured in another novel and readers would be interested to get a little bit of an update. Since this isn't a series though, this novel really should have stood alone a little better in the beginning. I did love the magic of this novel - Lipsha's communications with his mom, Zelda's power, and the fear of Fleur. All of these things could be read as reality or symbolically and I really enjoyed that dichotomy. Themes: modern Native American culture, gambling, visions, superstition, crime and poverty as inescapable cycles, love, luck, dancing

  10. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    Required reading for Am. Ind. Lit., Prof. Laura Furlan, UMASS-Amherst. Erdrich is good. I'd only read "Love Medicine" before this, and didn't remember enjoying it as much as this, but I was probably just being a wiener when I read "Love Medicine". I was surprised with all the comparisons Erdrich gets to Faulkner, but I see it, and agree with it in the sense of creating a fictional place and characters and using them across a decade plus of novels. Erdrich is really funny. Legitimately funny novels Required reading for Am. Ind. Lit., Prof. Laura Furlan, UMASS-Amherst. Erdrich is good. I'd only read "Love Medicine" before this, and didn't remember enjoying it as much as this, but I was probably just being a wiener when I read "Love Medicine". I was surprised with all the comparisons Erdrich gets to Faulkner, but I see it, and agree with it in the sense of creating a fictional place and characters and using them across a decade plus of novels. Erdrich is really funny. Legitimately funny novels in UMASS literature classes are hard to come by, so I'm lapping it up right now.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jeanine

    Like all great storytellers, Erdrich's work speaks to a universal human experience of love, loss, and family, but is told through a unique and singular lens

  12. 4 out of 5

    Bill H.

    I read this as a sequel to Love Medicine, interested in what happened to two of the younger characters--Lyman and Lipsha--featured toward the end of that novel. Both work in the bingo palace of the title and both are after one Shawnee Red. Lipsha's sections dominate the book, which is arranged in chronological order. The problem is that his musings, meditations, and actions mark him as an exasperating and hapless character; one has to work to remain sympathetic with him. The lively character I read this as a sequel to Love Medicine, interested in what happened to two of the younger characters--Lyman and Lipsha--featured toward the end of that novel. Both work in the bingo palace of the title and both are after one Shawnee Red. Lipsha's sections dominate the book, which is arranged in chronological order. The problem is that his musings, meditations, and actions mark him as an exasperating and hapless character; one has to work to remain sympathetic with him. The lively character stories that so envigorated the previous novel have been sidelined for an in-depth on a character who--truth to tell--has a very thin story, unfixed as he is.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay

    The masochist in me has developed a strange yearning for Erdrich when the blistering winter chill starts to scrape St. Louis. Not that this place gets nearly as cold and for not nearly as long as her Dakota climes, but there's such a mysteriously gratifying level of sympathy, longing, and ironic warmth I get out of her world. I think this started when I read most of Tracks one December day three years ago, smothered in blankets next to a drafty window in a former apartment, when my heat had gone The masochist in me has developed a strange yearning for Erdrich when the blistering winter chill starts to scrape St. Louis. Not that this place gets nearly as cold and for not nearly as long as her Dakota climes, but there's such a mysteriously gratifying level of sympathy, longing, and ironic warmth I get out of her world. I think this started when I read most of Tracks one December day three years ago, smothered in blankets next to a drafty window in a former apartment, when my heat had gone out due to a nasty ice storm the night before. And now that time has come again to take in another story. I've had this book on my shelf for at least two and a half years, maybe longer. In my quest to read Erdrich's novels chronological in order of publication, this was the fourth stop on my trip. Only, it took me a few tries to really get through it, and in the meantime I broke the frustration of my chronological resolution and read a couple others that had been specifically recommended (Master Butcher and Last Report) (and both of those were superb). Something about The Bingo Palace just didn't jive well with me, but for a while I couldn't really put my finger on it. The strange thing was, though, between all attempts to read this, I remembered so much of the story I never had to back track to refresh my memory. Over the past couple years, whenever my mind wandered over to Erdrich, I would always think of this incomplete novel I could never seem to finish. I couldn't just let it be. So, as we've dipped plenty below freezing already this December, I picked it up again, and this time it wasn't any problem. In fact, I rather enjoyed it. Part of it, at least--I think I've identified what didn't rest well with me previously. It's the choppy narration. I'm down with different points of view, but it's tricky, and she's done it better in other novels of hers. Mainly, I found myself craving Lipsha's point-of-view, tearing down the pages as he told his story. I liked the other reporting alright, but it always seemed to feel like a slight disappointment to wander away from Lipsha's ravenous crush. I can't say for sure, but I think in this last shot I gave it, the measures of insanity driven by feelings of lust or love really stirred up more empathy in me than before. I mean, like it really drove some of these people crazy. I blame it on my friends and family (and me, too, I guess...). I've witnessed it enough in my own life by now, and especially recently, that I felt a lot more comfortable with the characters. But alas, since it took me so long to get through this novel, I don't feel any super-strong attachment to it like I have with ones prior. It's got its really driving moments for sure, but enough bumps in the road to average it out to OK. It was good enough to keep my winter soul searching for more Erdrich, and I'll leave it at that.

  14. 5 out of 5

    bookczuk

    You know, I think I'm just going to give up on Louise Erdrich. I liked The Master Butcher's Singing Club, and was okay with The Beet Queen and with parts of The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse. But with each of her books, it's a chore for me to read. It takes weeks, if longer occasionally. I pick them up and put them down. Sometimes, I'm rewarded with a line like "In her eyes I see the force of her love. It is bulky and hard to carry, like a package that keeps untying." (The Beet You know, I think I'm just going to give up on Louise Erdrich. I liked The Master Butcher's Singing Club, and was okay with The Beet Queen and with parts of The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse. But with each of her books, it's a chore for me to read. It takes weeks, if longer occasionally. I pick them up and put them down. Sometimes, I'm rewarded with a line like "In her eyes I see the force of her love. It is bulky and hard to carry, like a package that keeps untying." (The Beet Queen), but more often than not, I keep wondering when I'm going to get fully engaged in the story. And there is so much intertwining between the books, that I find it hard to separate the stories in my mind. (It's also kind of annoying, because if I wasn't that enthralled with them initially, do I really want to have them suddenly crop up in another book? I mean, really!) Anyhow, this was Louise Erdrich, telling a story again. The writing is well crafted, but the story didn't grab me. I really had hoped it would. I also just looked at a list of books by this author and see I have read 5 out of 9 of her fiction books. Obviously, I am a slow learner, but you can't say I didn't give her a fair shake. If she writes an astounding book you can't put down, please be sure to tell me.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

    The fourth in a quartet of related novels, The Bingo Palace features Lipsha Morrissey, the son of June Kashpaw and Gerry Nanapush, characters from all of the interconnected families in Erdrich's previous books. The Bingo Palace is the main symbol of the story - a structure planned for a site on an Objiwe reservation - a site considered sacred to Native Americans. The bingo palace is a double-edged sword in that it will benefit the tribe financially at the same time that it will destroy another The fourth in a quartet of related novels, The Bingo Palace features Lipsha Morrissey, the son of June Kashpaw and Gerry Nanapush, characters from all of the interconnected families in Erdrich's previous books. The Bingo Palace is the main symbol of the story - a structure planned for a site on an Objiwe reservation - a site considered sacred to Native Americans. The bingo palace is a double-edged sword in that it will benefit the tribe financially at the same time that it will destroy another piece of their heritage. Lipsha embodies the contradictions and confusion of modern day Native Americans who struggle to reconcile their ancient tribal beliefs and values with the hard realities of modern life. Louise Erdrich does it again - creating an arresting novel full of unforgettable characters, impossible conflicts, and stop-you-dead-in-your-tracks prose.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

    Lipsha, this protagonist, was a side character in her earlier novels and I'd be inclined to keep him there. But Erdrich is a lot smarter than I am. She is such a generous writer. That's the only word I can find for it. This is a book about a young man who is infatuated with a girl too good for him, a young man whose parents abandoned him to criminality and suicide, a young man who works in a casino and gambles his way to a new life, a young man who is every stereotype and none of them. She Lipsha, this protagonist, was a side character in her earlier novels and I'd be inclined to keep him there. But Erdrich is a lot smarter than I am. She is such a generous writer. That's the only word I can find for it. This is a book about a young man who is infatuated with a girl too good for him, a young man whose parents abandoned him to criminality and suicide, a young man who works in a casino and gambles his way to a new life, a young man who is every stereotype and none of them. She doesn't let you reduce him even as he reduces himself.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Paula Hebert

    in this fourth book of louise erdrick's we are once again taken back to the reservation. this time to watch modern day decendants of the clans, whose lives are so interwoven by marriages that everyone seems to be related. as they try to integrate the present and future, and still somehow honor their past traditions, all generations make decisions that have long term impact. filled with heartache, humor, love and the wisdom of the ages, it's a beautiful story that will stay with you long after in this fourth book of louise erdrick's we are once again taken back to the reservation. this time to watch modern day decendants of the clans, whose lives are so interwoven by marriages that everyone seems to be related. as they try to integrate the present and future, and still somehow honor their past traditions, all generations make decisions that have long term impact. filled with heartache, humor, love and the wisdom of the ages, it's a beautiful story that will stay with you long after you have turned the past page. ms. erdrick is a national treasure.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Barsczewski

    I *think* this is usually considered to be one of Erdrich's lesser novels, but I think it has aged well and is the type of novel that rewards slow, patient reading. (Plus, I'd take a lesser Erdrich over 95% of everything else any day...if there's any justice in this world, she'll be the next U.S. writer to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.)

  19. 4 out of 5

    Celeste Trimble

    This book made me sick in the way only powerful artworks can...Like that movie Love Liza, or that gambling movie also with Mr. Hoffman. The thought of trading away the most important things in your life, your culture, for a few minutes of gambling thrill makes me afraid for my own life. Maybe I am doing things just as stupid without realizing it, throwing away the things that are most important.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Leslie

    I loved her newer book "The Master Singing Butchers Club" ( or something like that) I found this book too depressing knowing when I got in a few pages that it was going to end badly. So I didn't even finish it and gave it to the Used Bookstore in Ashland Oregon!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Stirnaite

    *Awakened to the shattered window and rattling black spines of last year's sunflowers.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    Erdrich is an enrolled member of the Anishinaabe nation (also known as Chippewa), and it is among the people of this nation that The bingo palace is set. One of the reasons the novel captured my attention all those years ago is because when we lived in the USA, we became aware of the importance of gambling as a major source of income for many Native American communities. Erdrich’s narrative draws from this fact, but it also provides her with the “luck” or “chance” metaphor – “the drift of chance Erdrich is an enrolled member of the Anishinaabe nation (also known as Chippewa), and it is among the people of this nation that The bingo palace is set. One of the reasons the novel captured my attention all those years ago is because when we lived in the USA, we became aware of the importance of gambling as a major source of income for many Native American communities. Erdrich’s narrative draws from this fact, but it also provides her with the “luck” or “chance” metaphor – “the drift of chance and possibility” – with underpins the novel. One-third of the novel’s twenty-seven chapters, in fact, include the word “luck” in their titles, as in “Lipsha’s luck”, “Shawnee’s luck”, “Lyman’s luck”, and so on. Luck, good and bad, is a constant in the novel, and Erdrich constantly puts her characters to the test, as they navigate their rocky worlds. How much “luck” is of their own making is a question for them, and us the readers, to consider, I think. For my full review please check my blog: https://whisperinggums.com/2019/07/28...

  23. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia Vengraitis

    I loved this novel but sometimes found it very frustrating. The story of Lipsha who is drawn back to the reservation in North Dakota after living in Fargo is part of the series which included The Beet Queen and Love Medicine. The beautifully written story is fantastical and mystical at times which makes it sometimes hard to know what is really happening. I read some other books in the series years ago (this one was written in 1994) so it was harder to keep track of the characters and try to I loved this novel but sometimes found it very frustrating. The story of Lipsha who is drawn back to the reservation in North Dakota after living in Fargo is part of the series which included The Beet Queen and Love Medicine. The beautifully written story is fantastical and mystical at times which makes it sometimes hard to know what is really happening. I read some other books in the series years ago (this one was written in 1994) so it was harder to keep track of the characters and try to remember what happened to them in the other stories. I would recommend starting from the beginning and reading the books in order. The novels show the plight of the First People very realistically. Has much changed since the 90s? Doubtful.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Susan Haines

    Erdrich is a favorite author of mine, and if I had heard the plot of the book and narration style described before reading it, I would have been all in. But something didn't work for me. I almost think the book needed to be a couple hundred pages longer in order to accomplish the fleshing out of all the characters involved. I like the "Orange is the New Black"-style of devoting different chapters to the backgrounds of different characters who intermingle, but there were just so many, and at Erdrich is a favorite author of mine, and if I had heard the plot of the book and narration style described before reading it, I would have been all in. But something didn't work for me. I almost think the book needed to be a couple hundred pages longer in order to accomplish the fleshing out of all the characters involved. I like the "Orange is the New Black"-style of devoting different chapters to the backgrounds of different characters who intermingle, but there were just so many, and at times I had trouble remember who was who and how they were linked. I also had a hard time connecting with the characters, which is very unusual for me in one of her books, but, again, it might have been too ambitious in size to make that work.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Thea

    I really liked this book but I have three observations about the book and if you have not read it, please do not read my observations that follow. 1. Why does Lipsha go of by himself after he won the van and then it becomes destroyed, it seems as though he wants bad things to happen to him. 2. Why does he tell Lyman about his bingo winnings and then does nothing when he finds out that Lyman has stolen all of his money. 3. Does he die in the end in the car? It surely seems as though he does!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jojanneke S

    I love Lipsha, I really wish he were a real person. As ever, Erdrich's characters are very memorable and she manages to sketch them in subtle and unusual ways. Fleur Pillager continues to fascinate me, and the ways these family members handle each other keeps me coming back to Erdrich's work. In some ways I wish this novel had been all about Lipsha and had been greater in scope, beyond his attempts to get Shawnee Ray to love him, because I think there's more to get from Lipsha's characters, but I love Lipsha, I really wish he were a real person. As ever, Erdrich's characters are very memorable and she manages to sketch them in subtle and unusual ways. Fleur Pillager continues to fascinate me, and the ways these family members handle each other keeps me coming back to Erdrich's work. In some ways I wish this novel had been all about Lipsha and had been greater in scope, beyond his attempts to get Shawnee Ray to love him, because I think there's more to get from Lipsha's characters, but perhaps I will encounter him in other Erdrich novels.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Rigg

    Erdrich is one of my favorite authors, and I've gone out of my way to seek out almost everything she's written. I love her lyrical writing and the way she interweaves a lot of characters' stories. In this novel, I had a few minor nitpicks about style (for instance, she's writing from the viewpoint of a 20-something young man, and he makes some observations that sound more like a 30-year-old woman's) but I really liked it.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Shari

    Beautiful novel about hope, dreams, the clash of the contemporary and the past, the sacred and the secular. I loved returning to the world Erdrich created in this cycle of novels. I've read Love Medicine a handful of times (I teach it in senior IB literature) and I will always revere it as one of her best, but I love reading beyond it as well, and I love the interconnectedness of stories and characters. Every time I read her work it feels like going home.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Heather(Gibby)

    I liked the story, and enjoyed the writing. This is the third book in a 7 book series, so I would have preferred to have read the previous books first to get more background on some of the characters in this book.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Cath

    Beautiful soulful writing. Not as fulfilling a read as some of her later work. But still VG.

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