The trick with historical fiction is balancing atmosphere and information with an engaging, moving storyline. Too much story can turn facts to fiction; but too much data can leave the reader overwhelmed and, yes, even bored. Unfortunately for Louise Erdrich, her novel slips a little too much into the latter category. "The Game of Silence," sequel to Erdrich's novel "The Brichbark House," has a good story, which follows young Omakayas and her family and others in the Ojibwe tribe who live in what will later be called Minnesota. They are peaceful and friendly to the chimookomanug or white people who live near them, but when the Ojibwe learn that many more white men are coming, they realize that their beloved home may be in danger. Omakayas must grow up quickly as all these new happenings begin to alter her life.
Omakaya's life is tragic yet hopeful, and always intriguing. But the story is bogged down in too much unfamiliar Ojibwe language, long nearly-unrelated background stories, and an episodic layout that, well, bored me a lot of the time. Pick up this book if you're really interested in the history and culture of Native American tribes in 1850, or if you'd like a different perspective on frontier life than the traditional "Little House on the Prarie" stories. Otherwise, this probably would be one novel you could pass by.