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It is 2019 in America, All Souls Day, when the borderline that separates the living from the dead is most porous.

Recently released from a decades-long prison sentence, Tookie – a headstrong and deeply wronged Ojibwe woman with a chequered past – must make a life for herself in a changed, charged world. During her incarceration, her only lifeline were the books she ‘learned to read with murderous attention’, so when she finds work at a local independent bookshop she also finds kindred spirits among an eclectic, often eccentric, community of fellow booksellers and readers. But soon the ghosts come calling.

When the bookshop’s most persistent customer, Flora, dies, she refuses to leave the shelves alone and it soon becomes clear this revenant has unfinished business with Tookie in particular. As the months pass, a deadly disease spreads, violence ignites, nature howls – and Tookie is drawn deeper into her quest to discover what Flora’s message might be, while trying to navigate her complicated love with the tribal police officer who arrested her all those years ago. Her search leads her right back to her roots and the stories her ancestors told; what Tookie unearths is a shocking personal revelation that resonates beyond her to a world in pain.

Can the dead teach the living how to survive the present? Can the living lay injustices of the past to rest in peace? The Sentence is an unforgettable novel about an unforgettable year. It is a novel about identity, redemption, betrayal and forgiveness; a ghost story, a love story and a love letter to the haunting power of the written word.


Louise Erdrich is the rarest kind of writer, as compassionate as she is sharp-sighted
Anne Tyler
The poet laureate of the contemporary Native American experience
Mail on Sunday
Erdrich is one of the greatest living American writers
No one can break your heart and fill it with light all in the same book - sometimes in the same paragraph - quite like Louise Erdrich
Tampa Bay Times