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THE GAME OF SILENCE by Louise Erdrich Kirkus Star

THE GAME OF SILENCE

By Louise Erdrich

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: July 5th, 2005
ISBN: 0-06-029789-1
Publisher: HarperCollins

Readers who loved the ways of Omakayas and her family in The Birchbark House (1999) have ample reason to rejoice in this beautifully constructed sequel. On Madeline Island in Lake Superior at the midpoint of the 19th century, Omakayas lives the turning of an entire year. In summer, a starving remnant of relatives are taken in and cared for; in the fall, stores are laid up and the group returns to their cabins; winter comes with storytelling, Old Tallow’s coat of many furs, and Omakayas’s sister Angeline beading a vest for the man she loves. In spring, Omakayas goes on her own spirit quest and sees her future clear. Omakayas’s relationships with her prickly brother Pinch, the white child she calls Break-Apart Girl and Two Strike, who scorns women’s work, allow for emotional resonance. She learns not only from the hands of her grandmother, mother and Old Tallow, but by her own sharp observation and practice. Eager readers beguiled by her sturdy and engaging person will scarcely notice that they have absorbed great draughts of Ojibwe culture, habits and language. It’s hard not to weep when white settlers drive the Ojibwe west, and hard not to hope for what comes next for this radiant nine-year-old. (Fiction. 8-12)