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The Round House (2012)

by Louise Erdrich

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Justice Trilogy (2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,2752092,942 (4)1 / 480
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.
  1. 60
    To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (JenMDB)
  2. 50
    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)
  3. 30
    The Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich (Limelite, BookshelfMonstrosity)
    Limelite: Not exactly a prequel, but featuring several of the same characters that appear in this more recent novel.
    BookshelfMonstrosity: If you want to read more about the characters and events portrayed in The Round House, read The Plague of Doves, which shares characters and events with the later novel.
  4. 30
    Midwives by Chris Bohjalian (sweetiegherkin)
    sweetiegherkin: Both books deal with a huge family crisis (the rape of the mother in The Round House, the trial of the mother in Midwives) and are told from the point of view of the family's 12- to 14-year-old only child, interspersing the tragic with the everyday life of a preteen/teen; both books also have unexpected endings.… (more)
  5. 10
    Waylaid by Ed Lin (Othemts)
  6. 10
    Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese (Iudita)
  7. 00
    We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates (ainsleytewce)
  8. 00
    Shadow Tag by Louise Erdrich (JenMDB)
  9. 00
    The Little Friend by Donna Tartt (ainsleytewce)
  10. 12
    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.
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» See also 480 mentions

English (203)  Spanish (4)  Dutch (1)  All languages (208)
Showing 1-5 of 203 (next | show all)
Erdrich's tale is compelling, violent, traumatic, poignant, and hilariously funny all at once. This is the favorite novel of hers that I've read so far. It begs some interesting questions about local justice (like To Kill a Mockingbird) and asks us to consider how the consequences of our actions follow us throughout our lives. ( )
  DrFuriosa | Dec 4, 2020 |
This is one of the best books I've read, but it absolutely destroyed me, in part because it reminded me of a situation a friend of mine was going through. It is a coming-of-age story about a Native community in North Dakota. The main character's mother is violently raped, and enters a dark, deep depression. The boy and his father go on a quest to find his mother's attacker and bring her justice. It is a story about how White law enforcement and the White justice system interacts with the Native populations, and about what is life is like on a modern reservation.

The book made my cry multiple times, but it is so filled with love and growth that I could not put it down. Highly recommended, if you have the capacity for something that heavy. ( )
  dafnab | Nov 2, 2020 |
Great Narration for Coming of Age on the Rez
Review of the HarperAudio edition (2012)

I've been a fan of Canadian actor Gary Farmer ever since his performance as gentle giant Philbert Bono in the film Powwow Highway (1989). So when I saw The Round House offered as an Audible Daily Deal with Farmer's narration I snapped it right up. Having the image of the naïve but determined Philbert in mind, it required no effort to imagine Farmer's voice as that of 13-year old Joe Coutts telling his coming of age story in the context of seeking justice for his mother's assault.

The only downside to the audiobook edition is that it does not include the author's afterward. ( )
  alanteder | Oct 24, 2020 |
I registered this book at BookCrossing.com!
http://www.BookCrossing.com/journal/14428544

I admit to going in with the idea that Erdich was a "women's fiction writer". By which I mean a writer of stories about women and women's issues, usually with humor. I don't tend to like those types of books, but I felt it only fair to read before making too many assumptions.

Turns out she's a writer who writes a lot about Native American life today, in a way that should appeal to men and women equally.

I read this several months ago so don't remember details. But I remember some scenes vividly. Geraldine Coutts is attacked, and finds it difficult to adjust to everyday life afterwards. Her withdrawal affects her son Joe and her husband Bazil, a tribal judge. Bazil looks for justice for Geraldine while Joe tries to help in other ways.

The investigation into who attacked Geraldine leads to the Round House, an Ojibwe sacred space. What takes place there is frightening and memorable.

Beyond the individual story we learn of the differences in tribal law and state law, and what needs to change. Well written and compelling. ( )
  slojudy | Sep 8, 2020 |
The Round House opens with Joe and his father finishing a job in the garden, wondering why Joe’s mother Geraldine hasn’t yet returned from an appointment. Assuming car trouble has left her stranded, they head out to find her and bring her home. But the situation is much worse than they feared: Geraldine was sexually assaulted. Because Joe and his family are Ojibwe, their case barely attracts the attention of local authorities. But Joe’s father Bazil is a tribal judge with years of experience litigating cases within the Ojibwe community and between their community and the white establishment, and so begins his own investigation. Joe is only 13, so Bazil is reluctant to share details with him. This changes when Joe, working on his own, discovers valuable evidence.

But this book is much, much more than an investigation into a criminal act. It’s the story of a family trying desperately to hold themselves together while they heal. It’s the story of a young boy coming of age, hanging out with his friends, getting into trouble, and resisting his parents’ attempts to control him. And it’s the story of the larger Ojibwe community’s struggle to maintain independence in the face of discriminatory government policy. These threads all tie together into a powerful tale of love, loss, and hope. ( )
  lauralkeet | Jun 14, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 203 (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.
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Erdrich, Louiseprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mantovani, VincenzoAuthorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Small trees had attacked my parents' home at the foundation.
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"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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Wikipedia in English (1)

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.

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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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