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Birchbark Blog

Aza was an artist from day one.

Louise Erdrich - Monday, July 08, 2013
Aza was an artist from day one -- a rendingly sensitive baby. Once she had a crayon in her hand, the world was hers. She started drawing complex rooms, dancing women, women in wild outfits, then there was a long interlude of girls kissing boys or holding hands. I mean, she worked everything interior out through her drawings. Finally, she was in high school and started serious art study. From there it just kept going and now one of the very best things about my publishing life is that Aza does my book covers.  

We always talk about the book covers before she goes into them. I never know what she'll come up with though. As HarperCollins reissues my backlist books, she does the covers.  

Aza started with Tales of Burning Love, and made it strongly graphic, and I loved it. Then she made the new Perennial Editions (finely made paperback books with beautiful paper and heavy French flaps) of Love Medicine and Plague of Doves. The letters on Love Medicine are made of bundles of sweetgrass, and raised on the cover. Very simple and warm. The cover of Plague of Doves has movement on the page -- the leaves of the tree turn to feathers and shimmer. For The Round House (paperback available late Sept) she draped a woman in sacred red cloth -- a moving knockout image.  

She is the baby in The Bluejay's Dance who was so super sensitive she needed to be bundled onto me at all times. Sometimes when exhausted I would think -- hey, but I get it, she's an artist! That this has come true is utterly cosmic.   

 

Comments
Anonymous commented on 15-Jul-2013 10:48 PM
I admire the way in which you write about your love for yours daughters. I have two of my own and just recently flew to Minneapolis, rented a car, and drove with them in tow straight to your book store. I bought a fellow teacher and friend a signed copy of your Tracks, and myself a signed copy of Four Souls, which I just finished reading, gasping with something akin to awe. My grandfather was Ojibwe, from Lake of the Woods, Minnesota. His parents were Metis, migrated from Canada, and died young, leaving 13 broken kids to their fates. My grandfather shed his soul, for all outward appearances, but regularly returned up North to hunt, fish and think. When he died, the house he built and his construction company behind it was bought and torn down to put a highway in, across the Mississippi to Wisconsin. When I came to visit my mother (who lives in Minnesota in the summer), I drove down that highway, thinking that he left no "tracks." However, your daughters prominence in your life as your core inspires me, and I understand that my daughters are his tracks, as they are mine. Thank you for your service and ability to share wisdom.
Anonymous commented on 22-Jul-2013 10:13 AM
I love Aza's covers! Which titles will she be doing next?
Deborah Farquhar commented on 24-Jul-2013 10:38 PM
I love The Round House! It is beautiful. I hope I can visit your Birchbark one day. While I cannot claim any Native American heritage, I firmly believe the intertwining of heritage(s) enables us all to appreciate our tracks. My daughter (BA and MA in English with honors) wrote her Honors thesis on "Last Report" and continued her interest in your work in her graduate research studies, claiming your edition(s) of "The Antelope Wife" require a critical edition that appreciates the depth of your work; she has applied for an internship at the Native American Museum in Washington. I hope this finds you in good health!
Stephanie S. commented on 26-Jul-2013 05:26 PM
I was introduced to your work almost 20 years ago in an American Literature class where my professor included a strong Native American component. Just finished the Round House and it was amazing. So happy to be reconnecting with your work after all these years. And I love the book covers. I think that book covers, like album covers, are a dying art. Seeing an artist successfully translate a complex, rich story of words to a singular image is truly delightful.
Pat Shearer commented on 18-Aug-2013 01:30 PM
I have just finished reading "The Round House" and it is still on my mind after 2 days. It made me laugh out loud, feel compassion, but mostly I am impressed with your knowlege of the Human condition. Thank You, I will begin reading some of your other books.
Pat
Jess Yorke commented on 06-Sep-2013 09:03 AM
I was introduced to your books via University. Beet Queen and Love Medicine were on the curriculum. Your descriptions are disturbing but I think they mean something to the US in the way they relate to the truisms of everyday life and proximity of native cultures. I think your books are important. They have had an impact on my professional thinking and I'm very glad to have been introduced to them.Thankyou.
Leslie Aplin Wharton commented on 02-Jan-2014 03:29 PM
My mother-in -law wisely gave me "the round house" for Christmas, it is the first book I have read through without long breaks for sometime. I love your writing. I lost my home, one my husband and I built with our own hands, in a Colorado wildfire. We moved to Washington state to find a new home. i am writing my story "the edge of next". I ponder at times if the story is any good but realize I need to write it anyways. In the interview at the end of the book you talk about tying yourself down to remind yourself to sit and write. Your book gives me strength and the rain here ties me down to sit and write. Thank you. Leslie Aplin Wharton
craig stewart commented on 19-Mar-2014 04:44 PM
I first read tracks a long time ago after finding it in a manchester bookstore and i loved it, i still do. I became drawn to any literature, be it fact or fiction about native american life, not the image we are so often fed in the uk but real stuff about real people who have to deal with the realities of the time. Tracks opened that world to me and since then i have read many of your books including the birchbark house series before i passed them onto a friends daughter. Now she loves them too! Thankyou Louise! Craig.
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Nero: A Preview

Louise Erdrich - Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A preview of Louise's next book (after The Round House
with graphic story illustrations by her daughter Aza Erdrich.

Nero first appeared as a story in The New Yorker (May 7, 2012)



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