Louise Erdrich's Justice Trilogy: Cultural and Critical Contexts

Louise Erdrich's Justice Trilogy: Cultural and Critical Contexts

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Editors: Connie A. Jacobs and Nancy J. Peterson

Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press (2021)

Contributors: Connie A. Jacobs, Nancy J. Peterson, Debra K.S. Barker, Kenneth M. Roemer, Aitor Ibarrola-Armendariz, Ellen L. Arnold, Connie A. Jacobs, Silvia Martínez-Falquina, Nancy J. Peterson, Margaret Noodin, Owen Neil Westerman, Peter G. Bediller and Gay Barton, and Lisa Halliday and Louise Erdrich

Louise Erdrich is one of the most important, prolific, and widely read contemporary Indigenous writers. Here leading scholars analyze the three critically acclaimed recent novels—The Plague of Doves (2008), The Round House (2012), and LaRose (2016)—that make up what has become known as Erdrich’s “justice trilogy.” Set in small towns and reservations of northern North Dakota, these three interwoven works bring together a vibrant cast of  characters whose lives are shaped by history, identity, and community. Individually and collectively, the essays herein illuminate Erdrich’s storytelling abilities; the complex relations among crime, punishment, and forgiveness that characterize her work; and the Anishinaabe contexts that underlie her presentation of character, conflict, and community. The volume also includes a reader’s guide to each novel, a glossary, and an interview with Erdrich that will aid in readers’ navigation of the justice novels. These timely, original, and compelling readings make a valuable contribution to Erdrich scholarship and, subsequently, to the study of Native literature and women’s authorship as a whole. 

"Louise Erdrich’s 'justice trilogy' offers compelling insights from prominent scholars in the field of Native literary studies contextualized with a guide to the novels. This is an important contribution that will appeal to both scholarly and general audiences."

–Stephanie Fitzgerald

"The essays in this collection highlight important features conjoining three novels into a trilogy focused on the timely topic of justice in America, and particularly on the heritage of injustice that unites Native Americans in the United States. Most significantly, the contributors move beyond mere historical awareness to address Erdrich’s signature tendency to critique and revise traditional ideas, in this case American notions of justice, in ways that foster more moral and ethical treatment of Indigenous peoples."

–Catherine Rainwate