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The Master Butchers Singing Club (2004)

por Louise Erdrich

Séries: Love Medicine (related)

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
2,188645,255 (4.05)189
From National Book Award-winning, New York Times-bestselling author Louise Erdrich, a profound and enchanting new novel: a richly imagined world "where butchers sing like angels." Having survived World War I, Fidelis Waldvogel returns to his quiet German village and marries the pregnant widow of his best friend, killed in action. With a suitcase full of sausages and a master butcher's precious knife set, Fidelis sets out for America. In Argus, North Dakota, he builds a business, a home for his family--which includes Eva and four sons--and a singing club consisting of the best voices in town. When the Old World meets the New--in the person of Delphine Watzka--the great adventure of Fidelis's life begins. Delphine meets Eva and is enchanted. She meets Fidelis, and the ground trembles. These momentous encounters will determine the course of Delphine's life, and the trajectory of this brilliant novel.… (mais)
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    zinschj: Both are stories of post-World War I immigrants struggling with their new lives in America.
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Inglês (60)  Francês (2)  Alemão (2)  Todas as línguas (64)
Mostrando 1-5 de 64 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
[Review written by my younger self]
This being the fifth book I've read from the prolific Louise Erdrich, I was at first both disappointed and intrigued by her break from her normal Ojibwe dynasty that make up the residents of a fictional North Dakota town known as Argus. After the first few pages, though, I pleasantly discovered Erdrich had simply widened her character scope to welcome some interesting and likeable characters. Included in this new group is a family of German immigrants, headed by the master butcher, Fidelis, and his steadfast wife, Eva. On the other end is Delphine Watzka, a quietly determined woman who knows, with equal expertise, how to balance chairs on her stomach, how to take care of her town drunk of a father, and how to love Cyprian, a man who for his own reasons may not be as compelled to return her love. Add a few more equally memorable characters to this mix, not to mention a men's singing club, and you are left with lyrically compelling and highly memorable novel.

This is not wholly a story about World War I and World War II, but the wars push their way to the forefront as overpowering aspects of Fidelis and Cyprian's recent past, and as overwhelming aspects of the future of Fidelis and Eva's four sons. Commingled with these conflicts are also conflicts of the heart and body --- a tempered love, a fatal affliction, a desire to care as well as to destroy. Erdrich, just like Delphine with her chairs, plays these elements in a delicate balancing act that creates a sometimes calming, sometimes electrifying flow of words and images.

Rising above this flow, more strongly here than in any of her other novels, is the gift of song. Dedicating the book to "my father, who sang to me", Erdrich uses the power of a good story as a love song to the people and events that charm even the most charmless lives.

Frequent readers of Erdrich may find themselves at a loss with this new cast of characters, though I actually was glad for the change. The humor of her other novels is also present here in smaller doses, and her imagery is vivid, at times almost arresting.

As with other Erdrich novels, though, be prepared to take in many subplots that have within them a valid attraction. I find that I often develop favorite subplots or supporting characters, and sometimes have to remind myself of the others. I did not have to do so in this case, which leads me to believe this novel more compact in its presentation than previous novels. First-time readers of Erdrich need not be hindered by a lack of knowledge about Argus folklore; though the novel does lead to Erdrich's favorite literary shelter, the introduction to the town is skillfully rendered.

In the end, however, it is hard to tell if the feeling readers are left with is bittersweet. The tidal wave that is supposed to consume the main characters in the end seems closer to a shallow puddle, which may or may not be what Erdrich intended in the first place. While this hardly takes away from the enjoyment of the novel, it does leave me wanting more. ( )
  irrelephant | Feb 21, 2021 |
This is a poignant generational novel about relationship, and here, the non-romantic relationships are the ones that take the stage. Erdrich creates a rich cast of characters. I'll be thinking about this book for a long time. ( )
  DrFuriosa | Dec 4, 2020 |
Seems like a book of short stories that are loosely connected. There are at least 5 characters (of 12) who we are introduced to in depth (1-3 chapters), and then never see again. As well, in all of Erdrich's books, so I'm told, she works her native American heritage into the book; this time I think in dream form. The book is brutal; the way people treat each other, the hardness of life and death, and WWII. For me, it was enjoyable in parts, but I wanted those parts to be continued instead of stopped immediately, never to re-appear. Choppy, is perhaps the word I would use as well as abrupt. ( )
  Tess_W | Jul 31, 2020 |
''The Master Butchers Singing Club,'' details the the fortunes of a fictional German immigrant named Fidelis Waldvogel, who settles in Argus, raises four sons with his German wife and eventually marries a local Argus girl of mysterious parentage. Fidelis was a German sniper who watched his best friend die in the last days of the Great War. He returns home to tell his friend's fiancee, Eva, of his death, discovers she is pregnant and proposes marriage. After seeing a slice of American bread Fidelis begins to dream of beginning a new life in America. He sets off with only a suitcase of his father's famous sausages and his family's butcher knives, first by ship and then by train to the West Coast. By the time he has sold all his sausages and exhausted all of his funds on train fare, he finds himself in the town of Argus, North Dakota where he will open a butcher shop and make a home for Eva and his sons. Eva soon becomes best friends with a young woman named Delphine, who has come to work in the butcher shop. The daughter of the local drunk, Delphine is smart, restless and melancholy beyond her years.

Before long a strange series of events affect the characters in this story and what characters they are. This novel probably has one of the most outstanding sets of secondary characters I've ever read. Everyone has a unique identity and unique emotions. They all have stories and secrets. The characters are richly developed and the plot is complex and unpredictable. This story is a series of separate yet simultaneously occurring stories woven into one. The mood is somber and discouraging and filled with human brutality and tragedy as all of the characters attempt to cope with numerous hardships and complicated emotions. I found it to be a great story with amazing characters and story lines, mysterious twists and turns, and a spectrum of human emotion. It was my first Louise Erdrich novel but I can't imagine it being my last. ( )
  Olivermagnus | Jul 2, 2020 |
Meine Rezension von 2008 nach dem ersten Lesen:

Als Junge hat Fidelis Waldvogel sich der Illusion hingegeben, er könnte vielleicht Dichter werden, aber als er 1918 nach einem zwölftägigen Fussmarsch aus dem Grossen Krieg nach Hause kommt, gehen ihn die Worte von Goethe, Heine und Rilke nichts mehr an. Ihn interessiert lediglich, was es wohl zu essen gebe und wie das gehen sollte, wenn er der Verlobten seines im Krieg umgekommenen, besten Freundes gegenübertrete. Nun: Wie versprochen heiratet er die schwangere Verlobte des Gefallenen, und als er eines Tages eine Scheibe Toastbrot aus Amerika in Händen hält und bewundert, beschliesst er, nach Amerika auszuwandern. 1922 kommt er dort an, noch alleine, aber es dauert gar nicht lange und er hat sich mit seinem Geschick als Metzger eine Existenz aufgebaut, so dass er Eva und deren Sohn nachkommen lassen kann.
Wir sind erst auf Seite 46 von 503, und was nun folgt, beinhaltet zwar auch Leben und Sterben der Waldvogels in ihrer neuen Heimat, aber es ist vor allem die Geschichte von Delphine Watzka: Delphine und ihr (schwuler)Freund, der Balancekünstler; Delphine und ihr versoffener Vater; Delphine und Eva; Delphine und die vier Waldvogel-Söhne; Delphine und ihre Jugendfreundin Clarisse; Delphine und Fidelis; und last but not least - Delphine und die Lumpensammlerin.

Louise Erdrichs Buch steht schon seit gut drei Jahren, als es damals herausgekommen ist und mir im Bücherladen zugewinkt hat, auf meiner Leseliste. Es war in erster Linie der Titel, der auf sich aufmerksam gemacht hat: 'Der Gesang des Fidelis Waldvogel'.
Weder der alte noch der neue Titel sind unzutreffend (der neue sowieso nicht, schliesslich hat die Autorin 'The Master Butchers Singing Club' gewählt). Fidelis gründet tatsächlich einen Gesangsverein, und er singt ja selber auch wunderschön. Mir aber wird der Roman immer als Delphines Gesang in Erinnerung bleiben: als Geschichte einer Frau, deren Leben mich berührt hat.

( )
  SwissShutist | Jan 5, 2020 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 64 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Amazon.com Review
Louise Erdrich's The Master Butchers Singing Club is a powerfully told story of love, death, redemption, and resurrection. After German soldier Fidelis Waldvogel returns home from World War I to marry his best friend's pregnant widow, he packs up his father's butcher knives and sets sail for America. ....
adicionada por eigram | editarAmazon.com, Gisele Toueg (Jul 24, 2009)
 

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To my father, who sang to me.
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Fidelis walked home from the great war in twelve days and slept thirty-eight hours once he crawled into his childhood bed.
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From National Book Award-winning, New York Times-bestselling author Louise Erdrich, a profound and enchanting new novel: a richly imagined world "where butchers sing like angels." Having survived World War I, Fidelis Waldvogel returns to his quiet German village and marries the pregnant widow of his best friend, killed in action. With a suitcase full of sausages and a master butcher's precious knife set, Fidelis sets out for America. In Argus, North Dakota, he builds a business, a home for his family--which includes Eva and four sons--and a singing club consisting of the best voices in town. When the Old World meets the New--in the person of Delphine Watzka--the great adventure of Fidelis's life begins. Delphine meets Eva and is enchanted. She meets Fidelis, and the ground trembles. These momentous encounters will determine the course of Delphine's life, and the trajectory of this brilliant novel.

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