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The Round House: A Novel Paperback – September 24, 2013
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Likely to be dubbed the Native American To Kill a Mockingbird, Louise Erdrich’s moving, complex, and surprisingly uplifting new novel tells of a boy’s coming of age in the wake of a brutal, racist attack on his mother. Drawn from real-life statistics about racially inspired attacks on our country’s reservations, this tale is forceful but never preachy, thanks in large part to Erdrich’s understated but glorious prose and her apparent belief in the redemptive power of storytelling. --Sara Nelson --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
“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.” (Elizabeth Taylor, Chicago Tribune)
“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)
“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)
“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)
“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.” (Michiko Kakutani, New York Times)
“A gripping mystery with a moral twist: Revenge might be the harshest punishment, but only for the victims. A-” (Entertainment Weekly)
“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)
“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)
“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")
Top customer reviews
She is so changed by the event that she will not tell her husband, a reservation judge, who raped her, and nearly killed her, save for her brave escape. The story evolves around the boy's attempt, with his three friends, to find the rapist and kill him.
In a recent discussion with Jeffrey Brown of “The News Hour” on PBS, the author, Louise Erdrich, said the book is an attempt to deal with a serious problem in the Indian culture. “[T]here is a legacy of violence against Native women that has gotten worse and worse over time. And, historically, the underpinnings lie in the complex nature of the land tenure on Native reservations. Each piece of land has a different jurisdictional authority."
I was sorry when this book ended and I very highly recommend it.
In The Round House, the protagonist, teenaged Joe, witnesses the complete and utter failure of the legal system in the face of racial discrimination against Native Americans. When his father, a judge, is unable to harness the legal system to render justice following a brutal rape, Joe is forced to reckon with his own role in bringing justice to an unjust world. Joe is not passive, he is active and, unlike Scout Finch, not so innocent. Although surrounded by a close family and even closer friends, Joe is often left to move through this journey alone.
As a lawyer, I enjoyed learning of Joe's initiation into the criminal justice system and his realization that, in the end, it is often a blunt instrument limited by those who administer it. Joe, along with his father, his friends, and his relatives, is an imminently relatable character dealing with issue that we all have faced, even if it less dire circumstances. In the end, Erdrich's novel offers no comfort to the reader, no happy ending, but will leave you with seeking the answer to questions evoked by her beautiful prose and unforgettable characters.
Most recent customer reviews
At the same time it was funny and poignant at times as well.....
Folds in a lot of history, jurisdictional issues, forced adoption, compulsory boarding school, domestic violence, Catholic missions....Read more