2008 One Book South Dakota announcement

The Master Butchers Singing ClubToday at the South Dakota Festival of Books, after a wonderful thank you from 2007 One Book South Dakota author Ivan Doig, the 2008 One Book South Dakota was announced.

The selection for next year is Louise Erdrich’s 2004 novel The Master Butchers Singing Club.

This means two things.

First, Louise Erdrich, who has spurned the advances of the South Dakota Festival of Books for the past four years, is finally coming to Sioux Falls to be the featured author. Secondly, we have a true Native American voice headlining the festival, which will serve to enforce the idea of diversity that the South Dakota Humanities Council strives for.

I haven’t read the book – I was told to tackle Love Medicine if I wanted a great Erdrich novel. However, I’m excited to read this one – it looks very interesting. From the Powells.com synopsis:

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.

The announcement comes just a few weeks after the formal announcement of 2008’s The Big Read selection for eight South Dakota communities: Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.

I’m excited for the discussions that will come from 451 – a book I loved so much in high school that I wrote lyrics to a song memorializing the book’s message. And getting someone like Erdrich to the festival makes convincing people to come that much easier.

This was lovingly handwritten on September 28th, 2007