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The Round House by Louise Erdrich

The Round House (2012)

by Louise Erdrich

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,8221913,056 (3.99)1 / 447
  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: A Novel 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 : a novel by Richard Wagamese (Iudita)
  7. 00
    We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates (ainsleytewce)
  8. 00
    Shadow Tag: A Novel 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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English (186)  Spanish (4)  Dutch (1)  All languages (191)
Showing 1-5 of 186 (next | show all)
Joe is only 13-years old when his mother is attacked. She has a hard time getting back on her feet when it comes out that she was raped. Joe and his father (a judge) try to figure out who might have done this, as they don’t know if the police (or which police, if any – the town police?, the tribal police?) will do anything.

The beginning of the book started off with a “bang”, so to speak, and it kind of ended that way, as well, but it was pretty slow-going in the middle. Overall, it was ok for me. I liked one of the other characters’ stories a bit better (but that could also be because it was condensed) – Linda. The author included some sad stats at the end of the book, with regards to native women and rape. ( )
  LibraryCin | Apr 9, 2019 |
This is a book that you need to stay with, breathe with, give it time to unfold, and it'll reward you. Pay attention to the way the narrative is written, the way it can be slow, desolate, and empty, and then give you moments of deep belly laughter, a pithy adolescent bon mot, a dirty-talking grandmother you wished was your own.

I grew up in an area with a lot of Native American culture and while I'm certainly not an expert, this felt respectfully written and a great representation of what Native American life is like. This was a pick for my local book club and we had some absolutely fantastic discussion around the various themes and questions and were all glad we read.

The take away? Stick with this one and it'll be worth it. ( )
  mediumofballpoint | Mar 4, 2019 |
Fast moving story. Haunting. Sticks with you. ( )
  kakadoo202 | Mar 2, 2019 |
1 (or is it 2?) Horrible Crime
3 Possible Jurisdictions leads to 0 Prosecutions
1 Inept Investigation
4 Teenaged Boys Playing Hardy Boys (and Star Trek) on the Reservation
1 Wiindigo

1 Best Friend
1 Storytelling Grandfather
1 Missionary/Youth Encounter Christ Girl
1 Pretty Cool Priest (Former Marine)
1 Adoptable Baby

1 Strong Tribal Community
Several Bouts of Alcoholism/Underage Drinking/Drug Use
Domestic Violence
2 Betrayals
3 Deaths

The Short Version: To begin with, this novel reminded me quite a bit of a mixture of To Kill a Mockingbird and Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. While I was very intrigued by the legal jurisdiction issue (which had a very Grisham/A Time to Kill feel to it and I loved the sense of tribal community and Mooshum's stories, ultimately the meandering storylines lost the emotional connection I had to the story about half-way through. ( )
  Caramellunacy | Jan 10, 2019 |
Beautiful and poignant. It breaks the heart while illuminating the mind. ( )
  Zoes_Human | Dec 9, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 186 (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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