'There Are Many, Many Thoughts, Many Dimensions in a Bookstore'

"I wanted to set it in the bookstore because I felt like that's a kind of haunted space, by definition. It's a collection of many consciousnesses enclosed in what Tookie calls this 'collection of words between cardboard covers.' But it's really the contents of a person's consciousness alive or dead. There are many, many thoughts, many dimensions in a bookstore. I thought it was haunted to begin with, and I thought I would really give it an extra haunting by providing a ghost....

"All of these things, as Tookie says, neatly package white unease with our country's genocidal and slave-owning and dispossessing origins, right? So, to me, it's revelatory. It's something that tells a lot about the consciousness of people who will make the explanation for hauntings, the Indian graveyard trope, right? But in this book, it's the opposite, because I think that speaks much more clearly to the fact of Native life. We're haunted by the spirits of settlers, by the spirits of government officials, by a history that includes extermination policies explicitly aimed at your nation, my nation, all nations. These are white ghosts. These are ghosts that have been there from the very first moment a pilgrim fell off the rock and sat down at the Thanksgiving table that wasn't."

--Louise Erdrich, author and owner of Birchbark Books, Minneapolis, Minn., in a q&a about her new novel, The Sentence, on NPR's Code Switch
Powered by: Xtenit