LaRose by Louise Erdrich is a novel about two little boys who are torn from their families and the infinite sorrow that’s left in their wake of their separations. As the repercussions of a tragic hunting accident unfold on a North Dakota reservation from 1999 to 2003, the narrative intermittently reaches back in time as far as 1839 to explore stories from the families’ Ojibwe heritage. Almost two hundred years’ worth of Ojibwe culture, American history, and family drama are brought to bear on the unusual situation of LaRose Iron, a five-year-old who handles an impossible situation with wisdom and grace.
The central narrative starts off with a bang: Landreaux Iron, a skilled hunter, has shot his neighbors’ son. When five-year-old Dusty Ravich fell from his hiding place in a tree, he took a bullet that was meant for a deer. Landreaux is officially absolved of any wrongdoing; the shooting was…