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The Round House (P.S.)

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The Round House (P.S.) Cover

ISBN13: 9780062065254
ISBN10: 0062065254
Condition: Standard
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Awards

Staff Pick

Exploring themes of crime, justice, and revenge, Erdrich spins a tale of the brutal rape of a Native American woman who lives on a reservation in North Dakota. When 13-year-old Joe's mother is raped and very nearly murdered, he watches as his family disintegrates into something completely foreign. Because his mother doesn't know exactly where she was during the attack, there is no clear road to justice. Was the crime perpetrated by a white or Native American man? Was the crime committed on tribal lands or not? Justice, unfortunately divided by white/non-white and tribal/non-tribal distinctions, often leaves Native American victims with absolutely no recourse at all. Or is there? Crushed by the horrific situation (further complicated by subsequent events) and tortured by the freedom of his mother's rapist, Joe begins to contemplate his own vision of justice. Threaded throughout with exquisite Native American stories, with an explosive climax and a shocking ending, The Round House is an amazing look at a group of people who are resilient beyond imagination.
Recommended by Dianah, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Review:

"Erdrich threads a gripping mystery and multilayered portrait of a community through a deeply affecting coming-of-age novel." Karen Holt, O, the Oprah Magazine

Review:

"A sweeping, suspenseful outing from this prizewinning, generation-spanning chronicler of her Native American people, the Ojibwe of the northern plains...a sumptuous tale." Elle

Review:

"A stunning and devastating tale of hate crimes and vengeance...Erdrich covers a vast spectrum of history, cruel loss, and bracing realizations. A preeminent tale in an essential American saga." Donna Seaman, Booklist, Starred Review

Review:

"The story pulses with urgency as she [Erdrich] probes the moral and legal ramifications of a terrible act of violence." Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

Review:

"Erdrich skillfully makes Joe's coming-of-age both universal and specific...the story is also ripe with detail about reservation life, and with her rich cast of characters, Erdrich provides flavor, humor and depth. Joe's relationship with his father, Bazil, a judge, has echoes of To Kill A Mockinbird." Library Journal, Starred Review

Review:

"Moving, complex, and surprisingly uplifting...likely to be dubbed the Native American To Kill A Mockinbird" Parade, Fall's Best Books

Review:

"Riveting....One of Erdrich's most suspenseful novels....It vividly portrays both the deep tragedy and crazy comedy of life." BookPage

Review:

"A gripping mystery with a moral twist: Revenge might be the harshest punishment, but only for the victims. A-" Entertainment Weekly

Review:

"The Round House is filled with stunning language that recalls shades of Faulkner, Garcia Marquez and Toni Morrison. Deeply moving, this novel ranks among Erdrich's best work, and it is impossible to forget." USA Today

Review:

"Erdrich never shields the reader or Joe from the truth....She writes simply, without flourish." Philadelphia Inquirer

Review:

"Emotionally compelling....Joe is an incredibly endearing narrator, full of urgency and radiant candor...the story he tells transforms a sad, isolated crime into a revelation about how maturity alters our relationship with our parents, delivering us into new kinds of love and pain." Ron Charles, Washington Post

Review:

"Erdrich's bittersweet contemplation of love and friendship, morality and generativity...result in a tender, tough coming-of-age tale." Cleveland Plain Dealer

Review:

"[A] powerful human story....By boring deeply into one person's darkest episode, Erdrich hits the bedrock truth about a whole community." Maria Russo, New York Times Book Review

Review:

"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." Jane Ciabattari, Boston Globe

Review:

"The Round House is a stunning piece of architecture. It is carefully, lovingly, disarmingly constructed. Even the digressions demand strict attention." Susan Salter Reynolds, Newsday

Review:

"One of the most pleasurable aspects of Erdrich's writing...is that while her narratives are loose and sprawling, the language is always tight and poetically compressed....In the end there's nothing, not the arresting plot or the shocking ending of The Round House, that resonates as much as the characters." San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"Wise and suspenseful...Erdrich's voice as well as her powers of insight and imagination fully infuse this novel....She writes so perceptively and brilliantly about the adolescent passion for justice that one is transported northward to her home territory." Chicago Tribune

Review:

"Joe may be one of Erdrich's best-drawn characters; he's conflicted, feisty one moment, scared and disappointed the next. The Round House will inevitably draw comparisons to Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockinbird." Miami Herald

Review:

"Louise Erdrich's prose is spare, precise, smooth as polished stone. Her books are rich with literary muscle." Austin American-Statesman

Review:

"The story draws the reader unstoppably page by page." Seattle Times

Review:

"The novel showcases her [Erdrich's] extraordinary ability to delineate the ties of love, resentment, need, duty and sympathy that bind families together...[a] powerful novel worth reading." Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

Review:

"Erdrich has given us a multitude of narrative voices and stories. Never before has she given us a novel with a single narrative voice so smart, rich and full of surprises as she has in The Round House...and, I would argue, her best so far." NPR/All Thing's Considered

About the Author

Louise Erdrich lives with her family in Minnesota and is the owner of Birchbark Books, an independent bookstore. Ms. Erdrich is a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, and this story — which will, in the end, span one hundred years in the life of an Ojibwe woman — was inspired when Ms. Erdrich and her mother, Rita Gourneau Erdrich, were researching their own family history. Chickadee begins a new part of the story that started with The Birchbark House, a National Book Award finalist; The Game of Silence, winner of the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction; and the acclaimed The Porcupine Year.

Ms. Erdrich is also the bestselling author of many critically acclaimed novels for adults, including the Pulitzer Prize finalist The Plague of Doves and National Book Award finalist The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse. She is also the author of the picture book Grandmother's Pigeon, illustrated by Jim LaMarche.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Matthew Brophy, July 1, 2014 (view all comments by Matthew Brophy)
Forget the National Book Award for fiction! In a whodunnit investigation led by a thirteen- year-old son, this book rivals any detective novel you would consider for your summer reading. Louise Erdrich brings you to the borders of the tribal lands and Indian spirituality which confronts American jurisprudence and the righteousness of Christianity on matter of crimes of sex and murder in the mix of politics set in 1988. In the remnants of the foundation of Native culture, a young boy’s life is changed as a result of a work-related rape of his mother one Spring Sunday.

In this book, you will come to know and love the family and friends of Joe Coutts, as he discovers all the sordid details of his mother’s rape from his Hardy boys-like investigation. With so many questions of jurisdiction, a young man narrates the year of 1988 in his life, with a perspective after he has attained adulthood with his own law degree.

“The real attacker could still be in the area.”

Finding, knowing your place in the world with full-blood, mixed blood, it was Joe’s mother who made her living tracing the bloodlines of Indians. And so the plots around the limitations on adoption by law for non-Indian parents, Indian Child Welfare Acts, inter-marriage in a land where the white man cannot be brought to justice in tribal courts in a place where tribal law applies only to those who are Native American however so defined. And so the importance of PLACE in this story but always with the fragmentation, as the tribal judge tells his son, “We can’t prosecute [the rape] if we don’t know what law applies.”

The only way to know whether an Indian is an Indian is to look at that person’s history, not from a set of fingerprints, we learn from Joe. And living where the ground keeps shifting, the rapist “knows what we can and can’t do under our law, knows we can’t hold him,” says Joe’s father. And as a result, at the Round House as a place of worship, there is no accurate description near the changing frontiers of fee land and land held in tribal trust, about federal law, state law or tribal law over where the crime was committed. In THE ROUND HOUSE, Erdrich brings forth the Ojibwe Spirituality as real as yours or mine in the uprooted lives of the narrator’s family in a young man who longs for a past before the rape, when no one is gonna do anything, except maybe the Ojibwe ghosts who mean to help in a locale when the practice of Indian religion had been outlawed just ten years before this crime. There are secrets shared over great sums of money connected to a young man’s unbound lust until his sexual fantasy is uncovered. Feel the fear of a people forced into a boundary of their own lands, over FBI questioning, with so little power except from their own traditions, in a theme of what happens when a people lose complete trust in authorities to act, encroaching upon sovereign borders, in a place where the indigenous have been lynched without reprisal, not so long before. Erdrich builds the air of suspense on a place as real as the reservation belonging to the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa so close to the Canadian border.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
W S Krauss, February 28, 2014 (view all comments by W S Krauss)
An amazing coming-of-age story! The central character is a thirteen-year-old Native American boy, living in North Dakota on the reservation. A terrible crime is committed against his mother. Joe and his father, a tribal judge, struggle to help her survive the ordeal and seek justice for her. Woven in the narrative are stories and myths of the Ojibwe Indians. Joe and his friends, Cappy, Angus and Zack try to investigate the crime on their own, having become frustrated with the official investigation. They find some possible clues near the Round House, a place of worship for those on the reservations. There is some uncertainty whether the crime was committed on the reservation and who would prosecute the case. As a result of this crime, Joe faces difficult situations and choices that demand he begin to see things with a more adult perspective. The characters in this novel were completely real to me, especially Joe with his inner thoughts brought to light by the author. Erdrich excels at bringing the experiences of living on the reservation to her novels and exposing some of the problems that exist between Native Americans and whites living nearby. The novel is really Joe's story, how he deals with tragedy and sorrow and how he learns to deal with the uneven application of justice in his world.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
View all 2 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780062065254
Author:
Erdrich, Louise
Publisher:
Harper Perennial
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade PB
Series:
P.S.
Publication Date:
20130531
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
368
Dimensions:
8 x 5.3125 x 0.756757 in 10.4 oz

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The Round House (P.S.) Used Trade Paper
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Product details 368 pages Harper Perennial - English 9780062065254 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Exploring themes of crime, justice, and revenge, Erdrich spins a tale of the brutal rape of a Native American woman who lives on a reservation in North Dakota. When 13-year-old Joe's mother is raped and very nearly murdered, he watches as his family disintegrates into something completely foreign. Because his mother doesn't know exactly where she was during the attack, there is no clear road to justice. Was the crime perpetrated by a white or Native American man? Was the crime committed on tribal lands or not? Justice, unfortunately divided by white/non-white and tribal/non-tribal distinctions, often leaves Native American victims with absolutely no recourse at all. Or is there? Crushed by the horrific situation (further complicated by subsequent events) and tortured by the freedom of his mother's rapist, Joe begins to contemplate his own vision of justice. Threaded throughout with exquisite Native American stories, with an explosive climax and a shocking ending, The Round House is an amazing look at a group of people who are resilient beyond imagination.

"Review" by , "Erdrich threads a gripping mystery and multilayered portrait of a community through a deeply affecting coming-of-age novel."
"Review" by , "A sweeping, suspenseful outing from this prizewinning, generation-spanning chronicler of her Native American people, the Ojibwe of the northern plains...a sumptuous tale."
"Review" by , "A stunning and devastating tale of hate crimes and vengeance...Erdrich covers a vast spectrum of history, cruel loss, and bracing realizations. A preeminent tale in an essential American saga."
"Review" by , "The story pulses with urgency as she [Erdrich] probes the moral and legal ramifications of a terrible act of violence."
"Review" by , "Erdrich skillfully makes Joe's coming-of-age both universal and specific...the story is also ripe with detail about reservation life, and with her rich cast of characters, Erdrich provides flavor, humor and depth. Joe's relationship with his father, Bazil, a judge, has echoes of To Kill A Mockinbird."
"Review" by , "Moving, complex, and surprisingly uplifting...likely to be dubbed the Native American To Kill A Mockinbird"
"Review" by , "Riveting....One of Erdrich's most suspenseful novels....It vividly portrays both the deep tragedy and crazy comedy of life."
"Review" by , "A gripping mystery with a moral twist: Revenge might be the harshest punishment, but only for the victims. A-"
"Review" by , "The Round House is filled with stunning language that recalls shades of Faulkner, Garcia Marquez and Toni Morrison. Deeply moving, this novel ranks among Erdrich's best work, and it is impossible to forget."
"Review" by , "Erdrich never shields the reader or Joe from the truth....She writes simply, without flourish."
"Review" by , "Emotionally compelling....Joe is an incredibly endearing narrator, full of urgency and radiant candor...the story he tells transforms a sad, isolated crime into a revelation about how maturity alters our relationship with our parents, delivering us into new kinds of love and pain."
"Review" by , "Erdrich's bittersweet contemplation of love and friendship, morality and generativity...result in a tender, tough coming-of-age tale."
"Review" by , "[A] powerful human story....By boring deeply into one person's darkest episode, Erdrich hits the bedrock truth about a whole community."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "The Round House is a stunning piece of architecture. It is carefully, lovingly, disarmingly constructed. Even the digressions demand strict attention."
"Review" by , "One of the most pleasurable aspects of Erdrich's writing...is that while her narratives are loose and sprawling, the language is always tight and poetically compressed....In the end there's nothing, not the arresting plot or the shocking ending of The Round House, that resonates as much as the characters."
"Review" by , "Wise and suspenseful...Erdrich's voice as well as her powers of insight and imagination fully infuse this novel....She writes so perceptively and brilliantly about the adolescent passion for justice that one is transported northward to her home territory."
"Review" by , "Joe may be one of Erdrich's best-drawn characters; he's conflicted, feisty one moment, scared and disappointed the next. The Round House will inevitably draw comparisons to Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockinbird."
"Review" by , "Louise Erdrich's prose is spare, precise, smooth as polished stone. Her books are rich with literary muscle."
"Review" by , "The story draws the reader unstoppably page by page."
"Review" by , "The novel showcases her [Erdrich's] extraordinary ability to delineate the ties of love, resentment, need, duty and sympathy that bind families together...[a] powerful novel worth reading."
"Review" by , "Erdrich has given us a multitude of narrative voices and stories. Never before has she given us a novel with a single narrative voice so smart, rich and full of surprises as she has in The Round House...and, I would argue, her best so far."
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