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The Master Butcher's Singing Club    by Louise Erdrich order for
Master Butcher's Singing Club
by Louise Erdrich
Order:  USA  Can
Perennial, 2004 (2003)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio, CD, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

The Master Butcher's Singing Club is a lusty, compelling, captivating novel with complex characters whose major virtues lay in keeping secrets. And there were many secrets to keep. What was Delphine's mother like? Why did a family die in a root cellar? Who was Franz's father? Why did Roy drink as though the world were going dry the next day? What compelled Fidelis to sing?

Fidelis Waldvogel flees Germany after the horrors of WWI. With a suitcase full of his father's sausages, he sells his way across the U.S. to Argus, North Dakota. There he founds a butcher's shop and marries Eva. Four boys later, Delphine Watzka enters the picture. A suspect relationship with a traveling showman makes her entry back into her old hometown uneasy.

The master butcher's singing club gives the vocalists a release from the everyday grind of trying to provide for their families. Fidelis has a fine voice - as do many of the male characters. The different families' dynamics and their interaction with their neighbors in Argus make for a tale that is hard to put down.

Louise Erdrich, author of many well-received books, has once again provided her readers with hours of enjoyment. Her writing is beautiful, with emotions that reach down into the very soul.

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