This and Four Souls comprise the backstory of Fleur Pillager the mother of Lula, a major character in Love Medicine. Lulu was born to Fleur in 1914 and in Love Medicine, for the most part, she is only mentioned a few times. This Pillager family is one of several in the Ojibwa tribe residing on a the Turtle River Reservation in North Dakota. Fleur was born in late 19th century – probably 1898 or so.
1984 – Love Medicine – on the Reservation, 1939 through 1980s
1988 – Tracks – prior to 1900 – 1924
2004- Four Souls – 1924 – 1930
The chronology of the stories seems wrong, but you can see Love Medicine as the introductory story and as a stand-alone. Then come the following two stories which are in themselves in chronological order and mostly deal with the life of Fleur Pillager and Pauline Puyat.
Themes – The destruction by various means of the Ojibwa community, religion(s) and the power of stories, traditions, obsessions, loss, survival, humor.
PDF of Nanapush/Pillager etc. family tree: (does not include Fleur’s parents)
There are two narrators here – an older man named Nanapush and a woman named Pauline. Nanapush is supposedly a respected member of the Ojibwe who tells Lula, Fleur’s daughter, the stories of her mother and the community – but his name means “trickster” and he says he cheated death by talking. Nanapush is not always a reliable narrator. Fleur has left the reservation but this is her story and it’s full of “magical” happenings. Pauline, the second narrator, is a half-breed young woman who knows another side of the Fleur story, plus her own is pretty traumatic. She’s not always reliable either. Many of the characters in the book appear in Love Medicine but they are much older by that time.