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The Round House by Louise Erdrich

The Round House (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Louise Erdrich

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Title:The Round House
Authors:Louise Erdrich
Collections:Your library
Tags:read in 2012

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The Round House by Louise Erdrich (2012)

  1. 20
    To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (JenMDB)
  2. 00
    The Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich (Limelite)
    Limelite: Not exactly a prequel, but featuring several of the same characters that appear in this more recent novel.
  3. 00
    A Time to Kill by John Grisham (Caramellunacy)
    Caramellunacy: Less literary and as a legal thriller more focused on the courtroom drama, but Grisham's A Time To Kill focuses on similar problems of racism and unspeakable crimes and the drive for the victim's family to seek revenge.
  4. 00
    The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (Caramellunacy)
    Caramellunacy: Alexie's Absolutely True Diary shows a teenager (a little older than Joe) struggling with the poverty, alcoholism and injustice found on the reservation and the bullying and racism he faces from the outside world. A similar theme of the heartaches of growing up on a reservation in an unjust world - Alexie's work shows more humor, though.… (more)
  5. 00
    Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese (Iudita)
  6. 00
    Shadow Tag by Louise Erdrich (JenMDB)

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» See also 213 mentions

English (126)  Spanish (4)  All languages (130)
Showing 1-5 of 126 (next | show all)
Justice for American Indians has come too often independent of law, at least law within the white man's jurisdiction. In the summer of 1988, Joe,"Oops," Coutts' mother is brutally raped somewhere on Indian land. Or maybe not. Joe is the son of Judge Antone Bazil Coutts, known to readers of The Plague of Doves. At thirteen, Joe may not understand everything about the world of his elders, but he does understand that when justice is unavailable to his family due to the complexities of that world, getting it when you're 13 and resourceful appears straightforward.

There is no violent crime that has but one victim. In this brilliant novel, the raped mother, her family, her son's friends, the inhabitants of the reservation, white people who are related and unrelated, religious groups, law enforcement, and the most innocent are victims. Erdrich weaves together each of those aspects of civilization into a beautiful and tragic revelation of how fragile is that concept when brutally attacked.

But amidst the tragedy of a disintegrating family and the dysfunctional society incapable of securing solace for any of them, there are luminous moments as when Mooshum, Joe's grandfather, is "sleeptelling" his wounded grandson Native American legends of their Chippewa people as Joe lies on his cot, sharing the old man's room, bathed in moonlight, listening to his unconscious ancestor evoke the spirit world.

There may be no funnier scene in American literature -- at least not since Tom Sawyer -- than when Joe and his friends are caught spying on the fearsomely scarred and dangerously mysterious new Catholic warrior-priest who holds them captive (or enthralled) as he tells them his life story. It's enough to make an Indian boy want to become Catholic.

Erdrich has written a simple on the surface novel that is profound, wide ranging, rich, and wise.

My opinion that The Master Butcher's Singing Club is Erdrich's masterpiece, may have to be revised. ( )
  Limelite | Oct 20, 2014 |
Combining a coming-of-age story with a gruesome crime story, padded with a concentration of the distorted and (at times ridiculous and ridiculously unfair) laws which govern life on the Native American reservations, this was an engaging read which started slow but powered to a poignant finish.

Set in 1988, THE ROUND HOUSE tells the story of a brutal rape and the impact this had on the family, most particularly the 13 year old son of the victim.

Not as dark as Shadow Tag, THE ROUND HOUSE did lack some of the smooth expression of the mysticism of other Erdrich books such as The Painted Drum and The Last Miracle of Little No Horse. The characterisations, especially of young Joe Coutts, his father Bazil, Linda Wishkob and others were vibrant and real, although some of the humour and sexual innuendos were not as sophisticated as in other her books - although, as the point of view was that of a 13 year old, perhaps that was intended!

There were moments of the old Erdrich magic (particularly the last four pages) but overall was mostly a good tale and a shocking denouncement of the indignities of the double standards of American law (one law for the indigenous Native American Indians and another law for white people - the plight of the imprisoned Native American Indian political prisoner Leonard Peltier springs to mind. Even my country's icon, the late Nelson Mandela said #FREE LEONARD PELTIER) ( )
  JudyCroome | Sep 13, 2014 |
I wanted to read this novel by Louise Erdrich because it was a National Book Award Winner. I was not disappointed.

This is narrated by the 13-year-old protagonist, Joe. The setting is on an American Indian reservation in North Dakota in 1988. Joe's mother is the victim of an outrageous sexual assault and has a very long recovery while he and his father, a tribal judge, are left to deal with helping her overcome her fears. The investigation into his mother's attacker goes nowhere until Joe decides to take matters into his own hands. There are several side storylines with Joe's friends, relatives, and community members.

Suspenseful, dramatic, and tragic, 'The Round House' has well-developed characters. I would have given this novel 5 Stars but without quotation marks being used for conversations, I constantly had to back-track to figure out what words were conversations! I shouldn't have had to do that! I do highly recommend this novel though. ( )
  pegmcdaniel | Aug 31, 2014 |
Best book I have read all year ( )
  ajax100 | Aug 21, 2014 |
a well written book that never quite fully engaged me - i've had trouble getting into Erdrich's books in the past and had never completed one before this one - the characters were fully drawn and the storyline felt full but slow moving - i most appreciated that the author exposed the presence of archaic laws in the u.s. that allowed a rapist to go free because the exact location of the rape was in question - and may have been on the reservation - and he therefore couldn't be prosecuted ( )
  njinthesun | Aug 12, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 126 (next | show all)
With “The Round House,” her 14th novel, Louise Erdrich takes us back to the North Dakota Ojibwe reservation that she has conjured and mapped in so many earlier books, and made as indelibly real as Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County or Joyce’s Dublin. This time she focuses on one nuclear family — the 13-year-old Joe Coutts; his mother, Geraldine; and his father, Judge Antone Coutts — that is shattered and remade after a terrible event.

Although its plot suffers from a schematic quality that inhibits Ms. Erdrich’s talent for elliptical storytelling, the novel showcases her extraordinary ability to delineate the ties of love, resentment, need, duty and sympathy that bind families together. “The Round House” — a National Book Award finalist in the fiction category — opens out to become a detective story and a coming-of-age story, a story about how Joe is initiated into the sadnesses and disillusionments of grown-up life and the somber realities of his people’s history.
“The Round House” represents something of a departure for Erdrich, whose past novels of Indian life have usually relied on a rotating cast of narrators, a kind of storytelling chorus. Here, though, Joe is the only narrator, and the urgency of his account gives the action the momentum and tight focus of a crime novel, which, in a sense, it is. But for Erdrich, “The Round House” is also a return to form.
added by zhejw | editNew York Times, Maria Russo (Oct 12, 2012)
Each new Erdrich novel adds new layers of pathos and comedy, earthiness and spiritual questing, to her priceless multigenerational drama. “The Round House’’ is one of her best — concentrated, suspenseful, and morally profound.
Our reviewer, Alan Cheuse, is always in pursuit of great new books. And today, Louise Erdrich's latest "The Round House." I interviewed her earlier this week about the novel. Now, here's Alan's take and he says it's her best yet.
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Small trees had attacked my parents' home at the foundation.
"Women don't realize how much store men set on the regularity of their habits," Joe says. "Our pulse is set to theirs, and as always on a weekend afternoon we were waiting for my mother to start us ticking away on the evening."
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Book description
One Sunday in the spring of 1988, a woman living on a reservation in North Dakota is attacked. The details of the crime are slow to surface as Geraldine Coutts is traumatized and reluctant to relive or reveal what happened, either to the police or to her husband, Bazil, and thirteen-year-old son, Joe. In one day, Joe's life is irrevocably transformed. He tries to heal his mother, but she will not leave her bed and slips into an abyss of solitude. Increasingly alone, Joe finds himself thrust prematurely into an adult world for which he is ill prepared.

While his father, who is a tribal judge, endeavors to wrest justice from a situation that defies his efforts, Joe becomes frustrated with the official investigation and sets out with his trusted friends, Cappy, Zack, and Angus, to get some answers of his own. Their quest takes them first to the Round House, a sacred space and place of worship for the Ojibwe. And this is only the beginning. Written with undeniable urgency, and illuminating the harsh realities of contemporary life in a community where Ojibwe and white live uneasily together, The Round House is a brilliant and entertaining novel, a masterpiece of literary fiction. Louise Erdrich embraces tragedy, the comic, a spirit world very much present in the lives of her all-too-human characters, and a tale of injustice that is, unfortunately, an authentic reflection of what happens in our own world today. Amazon description.
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When his mother, a tribal enrollment specialist living on a reservation in North Dakota, slips into an abyss of depression after being brutally attacked, 14-year-old Joe Coutz sets out with his three friends to find the person that destroyed his family.… (more)

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