The 1990 story "The Leap" by Karen Louise Erdrich centers on the tale of a trapeze artist mother who becomes blind, leading to the loss of her balance and coordination. It takes place in a small New Hampshire town in the 20th century. The plot of the short story focuses more on the mother's personality and her daughter's thoughts and feelings than the end of the mother's career.
The narrator of "The Leap" is the daughter, and she reveals her impressions of her mother. The overall tone of the story is touching and sentimental, and readers seem to make a connection to the characters. This story was a step back from Erdrich's typical Native American story motifs and turns to a more personal tale. The story may cause readers to ponder their own parents' pasts and childhoods.
Erdrich was born in 1954 in Little Falls, Minn. She began writing poetry and Native American historical fiction in the 1980s. Her stories often focused on her Native American heritage. Erdrich's mother was Native American, and this led to her involvement in Native American studies at Dartmouth College. Erdrich, who has said in interviews that she considers herself a storyteller, also taught at the State Arts Council of North Dakota.