HomeGroupsTalkExploreZeitgeist
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Night Watchman: A Novel by Louise…
Loading...

The Night Watchman: A Novel (original 2020; edition 2020)

by Louise Erdrich (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,3016912,243 (4.07)135
It is 1953. Thomas Wazhushk is the night watchman at the first factory to open near the Turtle Mountain Reservation in rural North Dakota. He is also a prominent Chippewa Council member, trying to understand a new bill that is soon to be put before Congress. The US Government calls it an 'emancipation' bill; but it isn't about freedom - it threatens the rights of Native Americans to their land, their very identity. How can he fight this betrayal? Unlike most of the girls on the reservation, Pixie - 'Patrice' - Paranteau has no desire to wear herself down on a husband and kids. She works at the factory, earning barely enough to support her mother and brother, let alone her alcoholic father who sometimes returns home to bully her for money. But Patrice needs every penny to get if she's ever going to get to Minnesota to find her missing sister Vera. In The Night Watchman multi-award winning author Louise Erdrich weaves together a story of past and future generations, of preservation and progress. She grapples with the worst and best impulses of human nature, illuminating the loves and lives, desires and ambitions of her characters with compassion, wit and intelligence.… (more)
Member:sbep
Title:The Night Watchman: A Novel
Authors:Louise Erdrich (Author)
Info:Harper (2020), Edition: Reprint, 467 pages
Collections:
Rating:
Tags:None

Work Information

The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich (2020)

Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 135 mentions

English (68)  Dutch (1)  All languages (69)
Showing 1-5 of 68 (next | show all)
Erdrich reprises her grandfather's life in this historical fiction piece set in North Dakota in 1953 and 1954. The U.S. government seeks to terminate its treaties with Native American tribes after taking their land, culture, language and way of life. Members of the tribe and others in the area help him to stop the termination process. There is a tragic storyline involving Pixie's sister Vera who leaves home to find a job in the Twin Cities and is kidnapped and sex trafficked in a ship that travels the Great Lakes. She is able to escape and eventually make her way home when she becomes so sick the sailors are afraid she will die on board. Lots of tension here between the "old ways" and the lure of the new factory and the big city. Wonderful story. ( )
  mojomomma | Jul 22, 2022 |
This book!

At first I was having a hard time keeping up with who was who, and for a while it was only Thomas and Pixie (Patrice) I wanted to hear from. That soon changed. I became enthralled with Wood Mountain, Vera, Rose, Juggie, Zhanaat, Millie, Doris, Valentine, and Vernon and Elnath, as well as many others. Erdrich's depictions of the members of the Turtle Mountain Chippewas, and their interactions with one another and those on the "outside" made me think and, well, yes --> LOL - often. (!)

There was sadness in this story, too. There is abuse, injustice, misunderstanding, assimilation, identity, and belief struggles, along with the will to "exist," (literally). The narrative was so entertaining, but also educational, opening this reader's eyes to the differences in culture. With expertise and keen insight, that can only be offered in the truest of senses, i.e. from genuine knowledge and experiences, Erdrich is certainly writing what she knows.

I already miss these characters! Highly recommend. ( )
  DonnaEverhart | Jun 21, 2022 |
Read this for a book club. This book was very meh to me. Boring, slow, rambling at times. Never looked forward to picking it up and reading it. I know I am in the minority here, but I think I just don't enjoy this author. Felt the same way about another book by this author I read. ( )
  LittleSpeck | May 17, 2022 |
This is the second Louise Erdrich book I’ve read. The first was “The Sentence.” Both were superbly written. I listened to the audio version of “The Night Watchman,” and in doing so, I probably didn’t give it a fair chance to earn a fifth star. I routinely listen to books during my daily 30-minute treadmill walk and while doing yard work. Because of that I don’t always devote 100% of my attention to it and often lose track of the plot development. That happened with this book. The story is fiction based on a true story, the life of Erdrich’s grandfather and his successful attempt to keep his Turtle Mountain Band of Chippawa Indian tribe from being “terminated” in the 1950s. Erdrich narrates her book, and as anyone who listens to audio books knows, the narrator can make or break a book. In this case Erdrich does a marvelous job of telling her story. Her pronunciations when reading Indian dialogue sound authentic. I’m not surprised that this book was a Pulitzer Prize winner, and I recommend it to all readers. ( )
  DanDiercks | Apr 27, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 68 (next | show all)
Louise Erdrich’s The Night Watchman is a singular achievement even for this accomplished writer. ... Erdrich, like her grandfather, is a defender and raconteur of the lives of her people. Her intimate knowledge of the Native American world in collision with the white world has allowed her, over more than a dozen books, to create a brilliantly realized alternate history as rich as Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi. The Night Watchman arrives in the midst of an impassioned debate over how American citizenship should be defined. As the author writes in an afterword: “If you should ever doubt that a series of dry words in a government document can shatter spirits and demolish lives, let this book erase that doubt. Conversely, if you should be of the conviction that we are powerless to change those dry words, let this book give you heart.”
 
Louise Erdrich is one of our era’s most powerful literary voices. Whether writing of love, enmity, or ambition, her descriptions feel resonant, yet arresting in their originality. Her portraits of reservation life in the northern Midwest also make her one of this generation’s most important Native American writers. Erdrich’s fictional communities are characterized by intense and ambivalent relationships – of lovers, rivals, and mothers and daughters. Rather than centering on an individual or a single family, she creates networks of families, emphasizing their interrelatedness, their shared past, and the land they inhabit, building a compelling alternative world – one that is always under siege. ... We need more of these stories that recount collective resistance and the small victories that can accompany it, while also recognizing the toll they take (economically, physically, emotionally) on individuals and communities. There’s a need, too, to be more honest about the way our country’s policies have negatively affected generations of Native Americans. “The Night Watchman” may be set in the 1950s, but the history it unearths and its themes of taking a stand against injustice are every bit as timely today.
 
The Night Watchman is indeed historical, thoroughly researched, rich with cultural and topical detail. However, what engages the reader most deeply are Erdrich’s characters: people, ghosts, even animals. As for the human cast, some of them are directly involved in responding to the legislative threat; others just live their complicated, difficult lives. ... Both the story of the tribe and the story of the individual family plumb grim history and circumstances, but the novel is neither grim nor a lament. Rather, it is a tale of resistance, courage, and love prevailing against the odds. Some readers may question such optimism and hope and doubt the tentative, nuanced resolutions achieved by the tribe and Thomas’ family. But any reader in this present, dark winter of 2020 open to reminders of what a few good people can do will find The Night Watchman bracing and timely.
 
The author ... delivers a magisterial epic that brings her power of witness to every page. High drama, low comedy, ghost stories, mystical visions, family and tribal lore — wed to a surprising outbreak of enthusiasm for boxing matches — mix with political fervor and a terrifying undercurrent of predation and violence against women. For 450 pages, we are grateful to be allowed into this world. ... In this era of modern termination assailing us, the book feels like a call to arms. A call to humanity. A banquet prepared for us by hungry people. Erdrich ends the book, in the afterword’s closing, with a kind of blessing: “If you should be of the conviction that we are powerless to change … let this book give you heart.”
added by Lemeritus | editNew York Times, Luis Alberto Urrea (pay site) (Mar 3, 2020)
 
... modern realism and Native spirituality mingle harmoniously in Erdrich’s pages without calling either into question. ... This tapestry of stories is a signature of Erdrich’s literary craft, but she does it so beautifully that it’s tempting to forget how remarkable it is. Chapter by chapter, we encounter characters interrelated but traveling along their own paths. ... Expecting to follow the linear trajectory of a mystery, we discover in Erdrich’s fiction something more organic, more humane. Like her characters, we find ourselves “laughing in that desperate high-pitched way people laugh when their hearts are broken.”
added by Lemeritus | editWashington Post, Ron Charles (pay site) (Mar 2, 2020)
 
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
To Aunishenaubay, Patrick Gourneau; to his daughter Rita, my mother; and to all of the American Indian leaders wo fought against termination.
Afterword: My Grandfather's Letters-Aunishenaubay, Patrick Gourneau, was the chairman of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Advisory Committee during the mid-1950s, supposedly the golden age for America, but in reality a time when Jim Crow reigned and American Indians were at the nadir of power--our traditional religions outlawed, our land base continually and illegally seized (even as now) by resource extraction companies, our languages weakened by government boarding schools.
First words
Thomas Wazhashk removed his thermos from his armpit and set it on the steel desk alongside his scuffed briefcase.
Quotations
Patrice had come to think that humans treated the concept of God, or Gizhe Manidoo, or the Holy Ghost, in a childish way. She was pretty sure that the rules and trappings of ritual had nothing to do with God, that they were ways for people to imagine they were doing things right in order to escape from punishment, or harm, like children. She had felt the movement of something vaster, impersonal yet personal, in her life. She thought that maybe people in contact with that nameless greatness had a way of catching at the edges, a way of being pulled along or even entering this thing beyond experience.
“Holding out through every kind of business your folks could throw our way. Holding out why? Because we can’t just turn into regular Americans. We can look like it, sometimes. Act like it, sometimes. But inside we are not. We’re Indians.”
“But see here,” said Barnes. “I’m German, Norwegian, Irish, English. But overall, I’m American. What’s so different?” Thomas gave him a calm and assessing look. “All of those are countries out of Europe. My brother was there. World War Two.” “Yes, but all are different countries. I still don’t understand it.” “We’re from here,” said Thomas.
“Good thing you don’t have to. I can’t turn all the way into a white man, either. That’s how it is. I can talk English, dig potatoes, take money into my hand, buy a car, but even if my skin was white it wouldn’t make me white. And I don’t want to give up our scrap of home. I love my home.”
Thomas looked at the big childish man with his vigorous corn-yellow cowlicks and watery blue eyes. Not for the first time, he felt sorry for a white fellow. There was something about some of them—their sudden thought that to become an Indian might help. Help with what? Thomas wanted to be generous. But also, he resisted the idea that his endless work, the warmth of his family, and this identity that got him followed in stores and ejected from restaurants and movies, this way he was, for good or bad, was just another thing for a white man to acquire. “No,” he said gently, “you could not be an Indian. But we could like you anyway.”
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Blurbers
Original language
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

It is 1953. Thomas Wazhushk is the night watchman at the first factory to open near the Turtle Mountain Reservation in rural North Dakota. He is also a prominent Chippewa Council member, trying to understand a new bill that is soon to be put before Congress. The US Government calls it an 'emancipation' bill; but it isn't about freedom - it threatens the rights of Native Americans to their land, their very identity. How can he fight this betrayal? Unlike most of the girls on the reservation, Pixie - 'Patrice' - Paranteau has no desire to wear herself down on a husband and kids. She works at the factory, earning barely enough to support her mother and brother, let alone her alcoholic father who sometimes returns home to bully her for money. But Patrice needs every penny to get if she's ever going to get to Minnesota to find her missing sister Vera. In The Night Watchman multi-award winning author Louise Erdrich weaves together a story of past and future generations, of preservation and progress. She grapples with the worst and best impulses of human nature, illuminating the loves and lives, desires and ambitions of her characters with compassion, wit and intelligence.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (4.07)
0.5 1
1 2
1.5
2 7
2.5 4
3 47
3.5 36
4 95
4.5 35
5 101

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 176,988,183 books! | Top bar: Always visible