cover image The Blue Jay's Dance: A Birth Year

The Blue Jay's Dance: A Birth Year

Louise Erdrich. HarperCollins Publishers, $21 (223pp) ISBN 978-0-06-017132-2

Erdrich, who has published poetry and critically acclaimed novels (Love Medicine, The Beet Queen), here describes her experience with giving birth and the joyful year of mothering that follows. The baby whose arrival she chronicles is the youngest of her three daughters but is also a composite of the biological children among the family's six. A keen observer of nature, Erdrich also movingly evokes wild-animal life and the seasonal changes that take place outside the secluded New Hampshire home of Erdrich and her husband, writer Michael Dorris. Although her mystical side is evident in her descriptions of the natural world and in her account of the strong bond she formed with her new baby, she also looks at life with refreshing common sense. She dismisses the ``pseudo spiritual advice'' that refers to intense labor pain as ``discomfort'' and admits to occasionally feeling resentment at her baby's screams. Erdrich lightens her prose with several recipes that she and her husband prepare together, as well as a menu for an all-licorice dinner. An enchanting, lyrical rendering of a ``mother's vision.'' (Apr.)