The Master Butcher's Singing Club

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9780007136377: The Master Butcher's Singing Club

A powerful new novel of from one of America's most important and entertaining writers In 1918, Fidelis walks home from the Great War to a Germany broken and defeated. He finds himself inexplicably drawn to the fiancee of his dead best friend and they marry but, knowing he cannot make his fortune here, Fidelis heads for America. When he leaves, 'The inside pockets of his father's suit held all he needed.' He leaves behind his family of master butchers, but not the skills he has learned from them and in America his sausages gradually become legendary...Moving to small-town America, he is soon joined by his wife and son, opens a deli and life seems to be perfect. But there are always the locals to contend with and when they meet Delphine and Cyprian, two eccentric travelling circus performers, things begin to get interesting. There is the problem of the unresolved dead bodies discovered rotting in the basement of Delphine's father's house, for one. And then there is the rivalry over the local singing groups -- will Fidelis be able to prove his superiority? Spanning two continents, this epic look at post-war immigrants' America is Louise Erdrich at her engrossing best. Warm, human, funny, deeply sad Erdrich's cast of oddball characters are infinitely loveable. The Master Butchers Singing Club will delight the legions of existing Erdrich fans but is also sure to amaze and entrance those coming to her work for the first time.

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Review:

Louise Erdrich's The Master Butchers Singing Club is a powerfully told story of love, death, redemption, and resurrection. After German soldier Fidelis Waldvogel returns home from World War I to marry his best friend's pregnant widow, he packs up his father's butcher knives and sets sail for America. He settles in Argus, North Dakota, where he sets up a meat shop with his wife Eva, who quickly befriends the struggling yet resourceful Delphine Watzka. Delphine, who runs a vaudeville show with her balancing partner Cyprian Lazarre, has returned home to Argus to care for her alcoholic father. While most of this emotionally rich novel focuses on the changing landscape of small-town life as seen through Delphine and Fidelis's eyes, Erdrich does a masterful job of illuminating hidden dramas through her secondary characters. Erdrich's portrayal of these various townsfolk, including members of the Master Butchers Singing Club, truly shows off her storytelling talent. Her ability to infuse each character with a distinct and multifaceted personality makes this novel an intimate and thought-provoking adventure. --Gisele Toueg

About the Author:

Louise Erdrich is one of the most gifted, prolific, and challenging of American novelists. Born in 1954 in Minnesota, she grew up mostly in North Dakota, where her parents taught at Bureau of Indian Affairs schools. Her fiction reflects aspects of her mixed heritage: German through her father, and French and Ojibwa through her mother. She is the author of six previous novels for adults, the first of which, Love Medicine, won the National Book Critics Circle Award. She lives in Minnesota with her children, who help her run a small independent bookstore called The Birchbark.

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