The Round House won the National Book Award for fiction.
One of the most revered novelists of our time—a brilliant chronicler of Native-American life—Louise Erdrich returns to the territory of her bestselling, Pulitzer Prize finalist The Plague of Doves with The Round House, transporting readers to the Ojibwe reservation in North Dakota. It is an exquisitely told story of a boy on the cusp of manhood who seeks justice and understanding in the wake of a terrible crime that upends and forever transforms his family.
Riveting and suspenseful, arguably the most accessible novel to date from the creator of Love Medicine, The Beet Queen, and The Bingo Palace, Erdrich’s The Round House is a page-turning masterpiece of literary fiction—at once a powerful coming-of-age story, a mystery, and a tender, moving novel of family, history, and culture.
Erdrich, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, sets her newest (after Shadow Tag) in 1988 in an Ojibwe community in North Dakota; the story pulses with urgency as she probes the moral and legal ramifications of a terrible act of violence. When tribal enrollment expert Geraldine Coutts is viciously attacked, her ordeal is made even more devastating by the legal ambiguities surrounding the location and perpetrator of the assault did the attack occur on tribal, federal, or state land? Is the aggressor white or Indian? As Geraldine becomes enveloped by depression, her husband, Bazil (the tribal judge), and their 13-year-old son, Joe, try desperately to identify her assailant and bring him to justice. The teen quickly grows frustrated with the slow pace of the law, so Joe and three friends take matters into their own hands. But revenge exacts a tragic price, and Joe is jarringly ushered into an adult realm of anguished guilt and ineffable sadness. Through Joe's narration, which is by turns raunchy and emotionally immediate, Erdrich perceptively chronicles the attack's disastrous effect on the family's domestic life, their community, and Joe's own premature introduction to a violent world.
Customer ReviewsSee All
So close to perfect
I'm giving this book 4 stars for the believable characters, the story line that makes you feel the potent injustices the Native American people live with, the incredibly beautiful language, and the authentic portrayals of life within a family, a community, and a self-serving government.
However. The ending confuses and frustrates me greatly, as it did to the members of my book club. We all agreed that we liked the book a great deal, but felt cheated by the ending, which almost almost felt as if it belonged to another book.
I still recommend you read it, but you should probably check it out at the library before buying.
Likable characters. Painful situation.
The journey is sometimes humorous, fantastical, sad, awkward...
I can smell the food, feel the earth, see the dusty light.
This story isn't an easy place to be or a few days, but it's somewhere worth going.
The Round House is compelling and moving. I learned so much about the miscarriage of justice our nation has committed against Native Americans, and learned, also, about the culture of the characters. I miss them already, having finished the book, and will find myself thinking about them over the coming weeks.