The Painted Drum

The Painted Drum

eBook - 2005
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When a woman named Faye Travers is called upon to appraise the estate of a family in her small New Hampshire town, she isn't surprised to discover a forgotten cache of valuable Native American artifacts. After all, the family descends from an Indian agent who worked on the North Dakota Ojibwe reservation that is home to her mother's family. However, she stops dead in her tracks when she finds in the collection a rare drum -- a powerful yet delicate object, made from a massive moose skin stretched across a hollow of cedar, ornamented with symbols she doesn't recognize and dressed in red tassels and a beaded belt and skirt -- especially since, without touching the instrument, she hears it sound.

From Faye's discovery, we trace the drum's passage both backward and forward in time, from the reservation on the northern plains to New Hampshire and back. Through the voice of Bernard Shaawano, an Ojibwe, we hear how his grandfather fashioned the drum after years of mourning his young daughter's death, and how it changes the lives of those whose paths its crosses. And through Faye we hear of her anguished relationship with a local sculptor, who himself mourns the loss of a daughter, and of the life she has made alone with her mother, in the shadow of the death of Faye's sister.

Through these compelling voices, The Painted Drum explores the strange power that lost children exert on the memories of those they leave behind, and as the novel unfolds, its elegantly crafted narrative comes to embody the intricate, transformative rhythms of human grief. One finds throughout the grace and wit, the captivating prose and surprising beauty, that characterize Louise Erdrich's finest work.

Publisher: New York : PerfectBound, 2005
ISBN: 9780060895167
0060895160
9780060895150
0060895152

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Jenkskitten
Apr 02, 2018

This book is really 3 short stories with 2 common threads: a drum and relationships between mothers and their oldest daughters. Never did figure out the "why" of the first story although the drum does make a slightly connection to the other stories. Each daughter desperately seeks a sign of love and acceptance from the mother. There is the cliche of the "drunken Indian" syndrome tossed in to aide in the explanation for many of the events. The book is depressing, discouraging, and sad. It should not be read by anyone who is unstable mentally. It is completely hopeless. I do not plan to read any more books by this author.

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GingerKaren
Nov 08, 2005

Mystical and engrossing this novel tells the story of a drum and the people it eventually heals. First there is Faye whose life is on hold while her orchard goes to ruin until she finds the drum that she decides to steal from an estate she is handling. As she searches for the original owners, the story turns to another chapter of the drum''s sad origin. And only out of desperation, is this magnificent instrument created. Carefully revealing only bits of the story a morsel at a time, Erdrich brings about an original book full of memorable characters to a place where peace resides alongside the painted drum.

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