Although this is an engaging story, Erdrich never makes the narrator convincingly male. As the story begins, he is a teenager who becomes a grave digger (instead of going off to college) in order to stay close to the older woman (the town doctor) he loves. He also takes care of his father as he ages and he actually seems to thrive in the cemetery. Eventually the doctor marries someone else, the father needs more supervision and the narrator sells his fine old home to the doctor’s husband, knowing what “the teardown king” has in mind. The language is beautiful, but I was never able to overcome the impression that the narrator was a woman.
December 25, 2006 and January 1, 2007: “Demolition” by Louise Erdrich