Louise Erdrich's Justice Trilogy: Cultural and Critical Contexts

Connie A. Jacobs and Nancy J. Peterson, the editors of a new book on Louise Erdrich’s “Justice Trilogy,” join us to discuss Erdrich, justice, and the excellent work of the volumes’ contributors.
Louise Erdrich is one of the most important, prolific, and widely read contemporary Indigenous writers. In Louise Erdrich’s Justice Trilogy: Cultural and Critical Contexts, edited by my guests Connie A. Jacobs and Nancy J. Peterson, leading scholars analyze three critically acclaimed recent novels—The Plague of Doves (2008), The Round House (2012), and LaRose (2016)—which 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 in this volume 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 readers as they navigate 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.

CONNIE A. JACOBS is professor emerita at San Juan College and the author of The Novels of Louise Erdrich: Stories of Her People. She is also a coeditor of Modern Language Association’s Approaches to Teaching the Works of Louise Erdrich and a coeditor of The Diné Reader: An Anthology of Navajo Literature.

NANCY J. PETERSON is professor of English at Purdue University and the author of Against Amnesia: Contemporary Women Writers and the Crises of Historical Memory and Beloved: Character Studies. She is also the editor of Toni Morrison: Critical and Theoretical Approaches and Conversations with Sherman Alexie.

Louise Erdrich’s Justice Trilogy: Cultural and Critical Contexts is available at msupress.org and other fine booksellers, including Louise Erdrich’s own Birchbark books in Minneapolis, Minnesota, or online at birchbarkbooks.com. You can connect with the press on Facebook and @msupress on Twitter, where you can also find me @kurtmilb.

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