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The Round House by Louise Erdrich
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The Round House (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Louise Erdrich

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1,8661443,704 (3.98)294
Member:shazjhb
Title:The Round House
Authors:Louise Erdrich
Info:Harper (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:2012

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The Round House by Louise Erdrich (2012)

Recently added byonodsle, private library, johnsonand, ann_knight, sherlock1, nittnut, jnwelch, Mrs.Connolly
  1. 30
    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 294 mentions

English (140)  Spanish (4)  All languages (144)
Showing 1-5 of 140 (next | show all)
I enjoyed the book and did have a hard time putting it down. And when I could not be reading, it was calling my name. It reminded me a bit of Ivan Doig's work about Montana. A book about real life, how things happen, and how people make decisions which may or may not be the best choices. And about living through these events, and living your life as best as you can, with and without regrets. And the pain and the joy of intimate friends and family. ( )
  maggie1944 | Apr 22, 2015 |
The Round House is a layered story. On one level, it is a coming of age story about a boy whose family is changed forever after the brutal rape of his mother. On another level it is the story of the convoluted, confusing and dysfunctional relationship between US federal law and Indian tribal law. On another level it is a discussion of justice. While this might not be the easiest story to read, it is compelling and beautifully written.

Quotes:

Women don't realize how much store men set on the regularity of their habits. We absorb their comings and goings into our bodies, their rhythms into our bones. 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.
And so, you see, her absence stopped time.
( )
1 vote nittnut | Apr 22, 2015 |
Moral evil is different. It is caused by human beings. A person does something deliberately to another person to cause pain and torment. That is a moral evil. Page 253

Thirteen year old Joe has to come to terms with his mother's brutal rape on the reservation they call home. A boy who is suddenly thrust into the world of men must navigate the complicated realm of justice, retribution, and racial discrimination with little adult guidance, while his trio of rag tag friends become one of the few sources of solace and comfort. Alone he will bear upon his growing shoulders the sins of a community without the understanding nor the wisdom to comprehend the repercussions of his actions.

I appreciated Erdrich's ability to paint the horrible circumstances around the crime that is central to the story without being too graphic, but still being able to convey the gravity of the situation. She draws us into Joe's mind, his confusion, his anger, his frustration, without holding back while being completely authentic at the same time, letting his character shine for itself. The story is unapologetic, unassuming, and a wonderful example of how to tell the story from a young person's perspective without making it juvenile or unbelievable. A worthwhile and immersive narrative. Recommended. ( )
1 vote jolerie | Apr 17, 2015 |
This was just not for me. The characters never really engaged my interest. The individual who recommended the book loved it, though. ( )
  kwkslvr | Apr 16, 2015 |
"The Round House: A Novel" is not ordinarily a novel that I would select on my own to read. However, it was a selection choice for me as part of LibraryThing's Secret Santa 2014. I am glad that the novel was brought to my attention.

After reading the novel, I wanted to learn more about the author, Louise Erdrich and discovered she is an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, a band of the Anishinaabe (also known as Ojibwe and Chippewa). “The Round Table: A Novel” has received multiple awards and honors as has the author herself in many genres of her writing from poetry to children’s books to novels featuring Native American characters and settings.

But it is not as an award winner that I would call this novel to another reader’s attention but due to the compelling way in which the story is shared. At first the reader might perceive it is merely a coming of age story of a teenage boy, on the cusp of manhood, living on an Ojibwe reservation in North Dakota. But that is just one of the woven features of the novel. It also serves to call attention to a “tangle of laws that hinder prosecution of rape cases on many reservations” and sadly that this injustice “still exists.” This novel is not for the faint of heart. It is not merely women’s fiction. It is a coming of age story that peels back the layers of the intricacies in moving from boyhood to manhood, a mystery filled with emotions and suspense. It is also a story of parenting and presents the subtleties of protecting and shielding a child, to sharing family secrets, to the gifts and curses of independent thinking and decisions on behalf of one’s family. As the reader finishes the last chapter of the novel, I can’t imagine anyone ever being the same as the story written in hauntingly beautiful language seeps into every corner of one’s soul. It is a novel that should be read by every adult American (women and men) to prompt action, to awaken our humanity, and to stop the injustices to women in our own country. ( )
  Corduroy7 | Mar 15, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 140 (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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To Pallas
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Small trees had attacked my parents' home at the foundation.
Quotations
"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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