Cover image for Tracks : a novel
Tracks : a novel
Erdrich, Louise.
Personal Author:
1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Henry Holt, c1988.
Physical Description:
226 p.


Call Number
Material Type
Bath - Dormann Library 1 FICTION Adult Fiction Book
Hammondsport - Fred and Harriett Taylor Memorial Library 1 FIC Adult Fiction Book
Montour Falls Memorial Library 1 FICTION Adult Fiction Book
Penn Yan Public Library 1 F ERDRICH Adult Fiction Book
Wellsville - David A. Howe Public Library 1 STACKS FIC Adult Fiction Book

On Order



Set in the early 1900s, Tracks follows a North Dakota Indian tribe and its struggle to keep their land out of the hands of an encroaching white society.

Author Notes

Karen Louise Erdrich was born on June 7, 1954 in Little Falls, Minnesota. Erdrich grew up in Wahpeton, North Dakota, where both of her parents were employed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. She is a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. Erdrich graduated from Dartmouth College in 1976 with an AB degree, and she received a Master of Arts in creative writing from Johns Hopkins University in 1979.

Erdrich published a number of poems and short stories from 1978 to 1982. In 1981 she married author and anthropologist Michael Dorris, and together they published The World's Greatest Fisherman, which won the Nelson Algren Award in 1982. In 1984 she won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Love Medicine, which is an expansion of a story that she had co-written with Dorris. Love Medicine was also awarded the Virginia McCormick Scully Prize (1984), the Sue Kaufman Prize (1985) and the Los Angeles Times Award for best novel (1985).

In addition to her prose, Erdrich has written several volumes of poetry, a textbook, children's books, and short stories and essays for popular magazines. She has been the recipient of numerous awards for professional excellence, including the National Magazine Fiction Award in 1983 and a first-prize O. Henry Award in 1987. Erdrich has also received the Pushcart Prize in Poetry, the Western Literacy Association Award, the 1999 World Fantasy Award, and the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction in 2006. In 2007 she refused to accept an honorary doctorate from the University of North Dakota in protest of its use of the "Fighting Sioux" name and logo.

Erdrich's novel The Round House made the New York Times bestseller list in 2013. Her other New York Times bestsellers include Future Home of the Living God (2017).

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Erdrich's poignant third novel in a sequence that includes Love Medicine and The Beet Queen follows the lives of a handful of Chippewa Indians in North Dakota who deal in different ways with the continuing encroachment of white civilization. As loggers' crosscut saws ravage their forests and bureaucrats attempt to steal their land, the Indians survive through their power to make myth: in narrative, the trees stand tall. [BKL Jl 88 Upfront]

Publisher's Weekly Review

Erdrich's literary reputation, already formidable after Love Medicine and The Beet Queen , will be enhanced with this beautifully fashioned, powerful novel. Some of the characters in the previous books are here, but with a new dimension that renders this story the most riveting of the three, again set in North Dakota in the early 1900s. The narrative voice alternates between Nanapush, a wise old man of the Chippewa tribe, and Pauline, who abandons her Indian heritage in an obsessive conversion to Christianity. Both tell the story of Fleur Pillager, a magnificent woman who is rumored to be a witch, and whose life mirrors both the conflicts within the Indian community banded together in the face of an encroachingy white world, and the eventual supremacy of that world over their culture. Rescued by Nanapush after her family dies in an epidemic, and already rumored to have infuence over men's lives, Fleur ironically is the victim of gang rape when she leaves the reservation to work in the nearby town of Argus. Nanapush gives his name to Fleur's daughter Lulu, counsels Eli who loves and woos Fleur, and watches the betrayal of her pride and power. Pauline, who becomes a nun dedicated to martyrdom, has a role in hastening Fleur's destruction. Erdrich's writing is as poetic and strikingly imaged as before, and even more crystalline. She seamlessly interweaves scenes of everyday Indian life and the magical and supernatural world of their legends and beliefs. While the native American culture may be exotic to our understanding, the characters are universally human in their emotions. This is a stunning story about people caught in the grip of passion and in the inexorable flow of history. 100,000 copy first printing; $200,000 ad/promo; BOMC and QPBC selections. (September) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In her splendid new work, Erdrich retrieves characters from her first novel, Love Medicine , to depict the escalating conflict between two Chippewa families, a conflict begun when hapless Eli Kashpawwho has passionately pursued the fiery, elemental Fleur Pillageris made to betray her with young Sophie Morrissey through the magic of the vengeful Pauline. That simple summary belies the richness and complexity of the tale, told in turn to Fleur's estranged daughter by her ``grandfather,'' the wily Nanapush, and by Pauline, a woman of mixed blood and mixed beliefs soon to become the obsessive Sister Leopolda. As the community is eroded from withoutby white man's venalityand from within, even Fleur must realize that ``power goes under and gutters out.'' Not so for Erdrich, whose prose is as sharp, glittering, and to the point as cut glass. Highly recommended. Barbara Hoffert, ``Library Journal'' (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

A riveting novel. Erdrich is as readable as she is complex. She makes the incredible, the bizarre, the fabulous slip by so effortlessly that at some point one is trapped. This book must be read with the parts of Erdrich's story that have alreqady appeared in Love Medicine (1984) and The Beet Queen (1986), and in anticipation of a fourth segment that is underway. The scale, density, and intensity of her work approaches that of Faulkner; Erdrich has already imagined what could become the Yoknapatawpha county of the last half of the 20th century. Hers is a story about a piece of land and the people who walk it--those who have inherited it and those who just take possession of it. She described not merely the way that piece of America is despoiled but also how such land rape can come within a whisker of spelling genocide as well. What Erdrich knows that Faulkner did not is that the "American" land never was wilderness. She knows, rather, that it was the home place for whole nations of Native Americans. Her work testifies that, miraculously, it still is. Erdrich is on a long stalk for meaning: she knows her weapons, she knows her stand, she knows her prey. She is as patient and determined as she is lucky. Readers are fortunate that she lives in our community and that she chooses to hunt for all of us. All libraries. -L. Evers, University of Arizona

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