21 September 2012

Imprint Friday: The Antelope Wife by Louise Erdrich

Welcome to Imprint Friday and today's featured imprint: Harper Perennial. Stop by each week to be introduced to a must-read title from one of my favorite imprints. I know you'll be adding many of these books to your wish list.

In 1998, Louise Erdrich published The Antelope Wife to high praise from readers and from critical reviewers. But three years ago, Erdrich reread the novel and started to think about the characters, wanting to know more about them. The result was a complete reworking of the book, which was published last month.

Here's the publisher's summary:
A new and radically revised version of the classic novel the New York Times called "a fiercely imagined tale of love and loss, a story that manages to transform tragedy into comic redemption, sorrow into heroic survival."

When Klaus Shawano abducts Sweetheart Calico and carries her far from her native Montana plains to his Minneapolis home, he cannot begin to imagine what the eventual consequences of his rash act will be. Shawano's mysterious Antelope Woman has stolen his heart—and soon proves to be a bewitching agent of chaos whose effect on others is disturbing and irresistible, as she alters the shape of things around her and the shape of things to come.

In this remarkable revised edition of her acclaimed novel, Louise Erdrich weaves an unforgettable tapestry of ancestry, fate, harrowing tragedy, and redemption that seems at once modern and eternal.
I'm intrigued with the idea that an author would return to a well-received work and drastically change it. In an interview published in the P.S. section of the new Harper Perennial edition, Erdrich says that only "the beginning [of the novel] is the same, and then the book changes utterly." I haven't read the original, but I'm going to have to find a copy so I can make a comparison.

I am still in the early part of the revised version, but Eridrich has already drawn me into the world of the Roys and the Shawanos, two families who "got tangled up." I'm quickly getting attached to favorite characters, which makes we wonder even more about the original book. In the author's note about the revision, Erdrich makes it clear that she was driven to rewrite The Antelope Wife so she could more fully tell the story of characters who were short changed the first time around

The novel is presented from a variety of view points, a style I almost always like. In this case, we even hear from a dog, who tells us:
A dog's-eye view of history includes certain details that human people might rather skip. I have no illusions. Humans are capable of anything. (p. 73)
Yes, I'm sure the dog is right.

Even if—or maybe especially if—you read the 1998 edition of The Antelope Wife, I encourage you to read the revised version. Erdrich's writing style is beautifully poetic, sometimes sparse, but always vivid.

Harper Perennial is a featured imprint on Beth Fish Reads. For information about the imprint, please read Erica Barmash's welcome note posted here on June 18, 2010. I encourage you to add your reviews of Harper Perennial books to the review link-up page; it's a great way to discover Good Books for Cool People. And don't miss the The Olive Reader, the Harper Perennial blog.

The Antelope Wife at an Indie
The Antelope Wife at Powell's
The Antelope Wife at Book Depository
These links lead to affiliate programs.

Published by HarperCollins / Harper Perennial ebook edition, 2012
ISBN-13: 9780061767968


Vasilly 9/21/12, 8:36 AM  

Now I'm really curious about The Antelope Wife especially since the author believes that she short changed some of the characters in the original version. Can you imagine being Erdrich and thinking about characters even years later? I think I need to buy a copy of both books.

Barbara 9/21/12, 8:38 AM  

This is amazing that an author of Erdrich's stature would rewrite an already published novel. I haven't read the original of this one but now I am very curious about the rewrite.

Daryl 9/21/12, 8:52 AM  

fascinating. i wonder how dispassionately she read the book ...

and thank you thank you for your review of A Discovery of Witches .. i downloaded it and loved it .. interestingly i found it sort of reminded me of Fifty Shades of Grey ..

bermudaonion 9/21/12, 8:58 AM  

How interesting that she chose to rework this book and they're publishing it with the same title.

Beth Hoffman 9/21/12, 10:30 AM  

I don't think I've ever heard of an author reworking a previously published novel. But I have to say it would be fascinating to read the first one and then immediately the second for comparison.

Sandy Nawrot 9/21/12, 12:57 PM  

I'm completely intrigued by her decision to do this. It is like the author in the Nobodies Album re-writing all the endings of all her books! Only it is happening for real. Sounds like a special project to me, to read both of these books.

Julie P. 9/21/12, 4:20 PM  

Interesting concept. I'm all for second chances.

Tea 9/22/12, 12:46 AM  

I find the two families very interesting. How will it all turn out? I would want to compare both books too. I might have the other version. I do have The Beet Queen, The Painted Drum. Will look.....

Fay 9/22/12, 11:09 AM  

How exciting to see a Louise Erdrich post just as I am beginning another of her novels The Beet Queen. The re-write is news to me, and now I will be sure to get the revision when the time comes to read.

Jenners 9/24/12, 9:00 PM  

I think that is fascinating that she is rewriting one of her own books.

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