LaRose,' by Louise Erdrich
There was a 10-year stretch — roughly 1975 to 1985 — when the landscape of American literature was illumined and enriched and transformed forever. The words “identity politics,” accompanied by the de rigueur curled lip, had not yet been introduced into the cultural conversation by those who saw themselves as the preservers of civilization, and “feminist” was not the F-word. It was a time when one would have been pleased to be described as “politically correct” because, after all, wasn’t it a good thing to be political, and wasn’t the opposite of “correct” “incorrect”? Or to put it another way, “wrong”?
These were the years of Maxine Hong Kingston’s “The Woman Warrior” and Toni Morrison’s “Song of Solomon.” And also when Louise Erdrich won acclaim for her first novel, “Love Medicine.” All of those books told stories of Americans the larger society had at worst tried to annihilate, at best put in shadow. And they were told by writers who were not only nonwhite but also non-male.