The Round House

By Louise Erdrich
(HarperTorch, Hardcover, 9780062065247, 336pp.)

Publication Date: October 2012

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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the October 2012 Indie Next List
“When 13-year-old Joe's world is shattered by a horrific crime perpetrated against his mother, he seeks to right the wrong. Erdrich masterfully lets the reader experience this period in Joe's life through his eyes. His world is drawn with sure strokes, and his family and their traditions and his friends and their exploits are convincing and real. Erdrich offers a view of life on an Ojibwe reservation as alternately rich in culture and disheartening in its injustice, poverty, and disrespect. Compelling and immediate, The Round House is a mesmerizing book.”
-- Jenny Lyons, The King's English, Salt Lake City, UT


Description

National Book Award Winner

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.




About the Author
Louise Erdrich is the author of fourteen novels as well as volumes of poetry, short stories, children's books, and a memoir of early motherhood. Her novel The Round House won the 2012 National Book Award. She lives in Minnesota, where she owns the bookstore Birchbark Books.


NPR
Wednesday, Nov 21, 2012

A devastating crime on a Native American reservation opens up questions about law, justice, and family in Louise Erdrich's latest novel, The Round House. It's the winner of this year's National Book Award for fiction. Erdrich discusses the book with guest host Celeste Headlee. Advisory: This conversation may not be comfortable for all listeners. More at NPR.org

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NPR
Thursday, Nov 15, 2012

The National Book Awards, announced Wednesday night, honored both longtime writers and new authors, from Louise Erdrich for her novel The Round House, to Katherine Boo for her debut nonfiction work, Behind the Beautiful Forevers. More at NPR.org

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Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

CONVERSATION STARTERS

  1. The Round House opens with the sentence: "Small trees had attacked my parents' house at the foundation." How do these words relate to the complete story that unfolds?

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