Tuesday, June 29, 2010
"Death is the golden key that opens the palace of eternity." John Milton
This is a story that tells of the growth and maturation of Lipshaw Morrisey.
Lipshaw, son of June Kashpaw and Gary Nanapush, is summoned back to the reservation by his grandmother, Lulu Lamartine. The method of summons is by sending him a wanted poster with his father's photo on it.
This is an effective wake up that makes Lipshaw stop and take a look at his own life and the direction he was going. He thought of the drugs and his dead end job and his future. After considering his life, he packed his car and headed back to the reservation.
When Lipshaw was a child we learn that "..spirits pulled his fingers..." He finished high school and scored well on the North Dakota college tests but became another reservation statistic.
We experience what life has in store for him when he returns. He gets a job as a night watchman at the Bingo Palace. An immediate result of his return is seeing Shawnee Ray again and falling in love with her. However, she is also being sought after by Lipshaw's boss, Lyman Lamartine.
The writing is rich with description and imagery. When Lipshaw and Shawnee Ray are together with friends and she asks if he wants to kiss her, Lipshaw answers, "Not here, our first kiss has to be a magic moment only we can share."
Louise Erdrich possesses a unique talent for creating characters who have an individuality that makes the reader want to learn more of their lives.
With Lipshaw, we see his early promise but like many members of the Chippewa Nation he seems content with a meager existence. In this case, his position of night manager which is supplimented with his bingo winnings.
There are streams of hope in Shawnee's future goals but we learn that many goals are just dreams that fade away.