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The Round House: A Novel Paperback – September 24, 2013
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“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)
“A gripping mystery with a moral twist: Revenge might be the harshest punishment, but only for the victims. A-” (Entertainment Weekly)
“THE ROUND HOUSE is filled with stunning language that recalls shades of Faulkner, García Márquez and Toni Morrison. Deeply moving, this novel ranks among Erdrich’s best work, and it is impossible to forget.” (USA Today)
“Moving, complex, and surprisingly uplifting…likely to be dubbed the Native American TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD” (Parade, Fall's Best Books)
“Erdrich never shields the reader or Joe from the truth…She writes simply, without flourish.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)
“An artfully balanced mystery, thriller and coming-of-age story…this novel will have you reading at warp speed to see what happens next.” (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
“Erdrich’s bittersweet contemplation of love and friendship, morality and generativity…result in a tender, tough coming-of-age tale.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
“A powerful human story…By boring deeply into one person’s darkest episode, Erdrich hits the bedrock truth about a whole community.” (New York Times Book 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)
“Haunting…a bittersweet coming-of-age tale…tender but unsentimental and buoyed by subtle wit” (People)
“THE ROUND HOUSE is a stunning piece of architecture. It is carefully, lovingly, disarmingly constructed. Even the digressions demand strict attention.” (Newsday)
“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)
“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)
“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 MOCKINGBIRD…” (Miami Herald)
“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)
“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)
“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 of THE ROUND HOUSE)
“The story pulses with urgency as she [Erdrich] probes the moral and legal ramifications of a terrible act of violence.” (Publishers Weekly, Starred Review of THE ROUND HOUSE)
“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 MOCKINGBIRD.” (Library Journal, Starred Review of THE ROUND HOUSE)
“Riveting…One of Erdrich’s most suspenseful novels.... It vividly portrays both the deep tragedy and crazy comedy of life.” (BookPage, Cover/Feature 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)
“Louise Erdrich’s prose is spare, precise, smooth as polished stone. Her books are rich with literary muscle.” -Austin American-Statesman (Austin American-Statesman)
“The story draws the reader unstoppably page by page.” (Seattle Times)
“While Erdrich is known as a brilliant chronicler of the American Indian experience, her insights into our family, community, and spiritual lives transcend any category.” (Reader's Digest)
“Poignant and surprisingly funny, it’s the acclaimed writer’s best book yet.” (O, the Oprah Magazine, "Our Favorite Reads of 2012")
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Top Customer Reviews
Our narrator - an Ojibwe lawyer named Joe Coutts - recalls his 13th summer from the perspective of time. Joe's position as the only child of tribal judge Bazil Coutts and tribal clerk Geraldine Coutts kept him feeling loved and secure until his mother is brutally and sadistically raped as she attempts to retrieve a potentially damning file. Although the rapist is rather quickly identified, the location of the rape--in the vicinity of a sacred round house - lies within that "no-man's land" where tribal courts are in charge and the neighboring Caucasians cannot be prosecuted, no matter how heinous the crime. Thrust into an adult world, Joe and his best friends Cappy, Zack and Angus are propelled to seek their own answers.
This novel shines for many reasons, particularly because of the urgency and power of the descriptions. The aftermath of the rape is described in unflinching and dynamic prose - no manipulation, and no turning away. One of the ancillary yet important characters - the damaged and conflicted Father Travis, a war veteran - is so beautifully and powerfully fleshed out that it is impossible to not be riveted to the page. Each character, in fact, is realistically drawn, complete with the ambiguities that reside in each of us.
This is a finely nuanced novel that, like a Rubik's cube, examines violence and our responsibilities in a number of ways. One of them is through the prism of religion: the Roman Catholic belief that every evil ultimately can be transfigured to good as opposed to tribal justice traditions. Ms.Read more ›
In a powerful opening scene, filled with symbols and portents, thirteen-year-old Antone Basil Coutts (Joe), only child and namesake of Judge Coutts and his wife Geraldine, is helping his father to pull tiny seedlings from cracks in the foundation of their house, awaiting Geraldine's return from her office. When she finally arrives at home, she is almost unrecognizable, so badly beaten she can hardly see, reeking of gasoline and so traumatized by rape and other crimes that she has become mute. Young Joe knows that it will be up to him and his father to identify who has done this. They begin to study his father's old cases searching clues.
Joe is still a child, however, and though his empathetic father wants to protect him as much as possible, Joe becomes obsessed with getting his mother "back," determined to find and punish the rapist on his own.Read more ›
Enrich uses details to paint this world. Adults remember the first Birkenstocks seen on the reservation. Joe and his friends locate a stash of Hamm's beer and try to determine what type of person left that brand. The houses are so clearly described, we can envision ourselves walking into them.
The people who live here are also vivid to our minds. Their clothing and their walks reveal themselves to the reader.
These characters are diverse and open to our hearts. Erdrich builds a masterful novel which is well worth the read. When it ends, we blink our eyes startled to return to our chairs.
Who attacked her, and why isn't Geraldine willing to talk about her attack? Why are things so secretive and why isn't Joe told something about the attack at least? Of course bit by bit information about the attack, where it happened or who might be responsible is slowly shared behind the scenes, but from the perspective of Joe, the thirteen year old narrator, all he sees is his once happy and active mother holed up in her room, spiraling into a deep depression and afraid to even leave her room. "Her eyes were black pits...." Joe feels helpless and is not sure what he can to to make his mother feel safe again. Joe has an idea and enlists the help of his buddies, Cappy, Zack and Angus in trying to find out who attacked his mother and plotting what they feel would be appropriate revenge.
Although the theme of this novel is a dark one and one might think it would make for a depressing read, that is not the case. There is so much to hold the readers interest in this story.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of the most complete novels I have ever read. The characters, the plot, the story behind the plot all contribute to a rich, interesting read that taught me much about a... Read morePublished 3 days ago by Amazon Customer
Louise Erdrich never disappoints and this tale will engage you completely. Live entering her world and so disappointed when I reach the last page because I don't want to leave.Published 5 days ago by Printemps28
I would have enjoyed the book better if I had read it all at one time. As it turned out I started it then read 2 other books before I got back to The Round House. Read morePublished 13 days ago by A Breath of Snow and Ashes
** spoiler alert **
Worthy of the honor of winning the National Book Awards, I enjoyed Louise Erdrich's The Round House both for its illustration of 1988 Native American... Read more