The Night Watchman by  Louise Erdrich

The Night Watchman

Louise Erdrich

Based on Louise’s grandfather’s life, this is a novel that stayed with me long after reading. Pixy, a Native American girl lives on the Chippewa reservation. She is the one supporting her family because her father is a drunk. Thomas is a watchman in a factory on the Rez and worried about the Termination Bill hanging above the tribe’s heads. The language is poetic, the story moving, funny - and breaking stereotypes.


Joseph Smith's personal revelation, all written down in The Book of Mormon, was that his people alone were the best and should possess the earth. 'Who would ever believe that cockeyed story about the peep stone, the vision in the bottom of the hat, the golden tablets? This whole book was an excuse to get rid of Indians,' said Thomas. Rose heard him and started to laugh. 'All the stories are crazy, if you think about it,' she said. Which got Thomas thinking. What religious book was any better? The Holy Bible, full of power and poetry, was also filled with tall tales. Thomas had found them enthralling, but in the end they were all just stories, less important than the Sky Woman story, the manidoog at creation, the Nanabozho stories. To them all, especially the humorless book Elnath and Vernon had left, Thomas preferred their supernatural figure Nanabozho, who fooled ducks, got angry at his own butt and burnt it off … and created everything useful and much that was essential, like laughter.

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