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The Round House
Cover of The Round House
The Round House

Winner of the National Book Award • Washington Post Best Book of the Year • A New York Times Notable Book

From one of the most revered novelists of our time, an exquisitely told story of a boy on the cusp of manhood who seeks justice and understanding in the wake of a terrible crime that upends and forever transforms his family.

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 because 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, 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.

The Round House is a page-turning masterpiece—at once a powerful coming-of-age story, a mystery, and a tender, moving novel of family, history, and culture.

Winner of the National Book Award • Washington Post Best Book of the Year • A New York Times Notable Book

From one of the most revered novelists of our time, an exquisitely told story of a boy on the cusp of manhood who seeks justice and understanding in the wake of a terrible crime that upends and forever transforms his family.

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 because 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, 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.

The Round House is a page-turning masterpiece—at once a powerful coming-of-age story, a mystery, and a tender, moving novel of family, history, and culture.

Available formats-
  • OverDrive Read
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Copies-
  • Available:
    0
  • Library copies:
    0
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    5.1
  • Lexile:
    790
  • Interest Level:
    UG
  • Text Difficulty:
    3 - 4

Recommended for you

 
Awards-
About the Author-
  • Louise Erdrich, a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, is the author of many novels as well as volumes of poetry, children's books, and a memoir of early motherhood. Her novel The Round House won the National Book Award for Fiction. Love Medicine and LaRose received the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction. Erdrich lives in Minnesota with her daughters and is the owner of Birchbark Books, a small independent bookstore. Her most recent book, The Night Watchman, won the Pulitzer Prize. A ghost lives in her creaky old house.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from July 16, 2012
    Erdrich, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, sets her newest (after Shadow Tag) in 1988 in an Ojibwe community in North Dakota; the story pulses with urgency as she probes the moral and legal ramifications of a terrible act of violence. When tribal enrollment expert Geraldine Coutts is viciously attacked, her ordeal is made even more devastating by the legal ambiguities surrounding the location and perpetrator of the assault—did the attack occur on tribal, federal, or state land? Is the aggressor white or Indian? As Geraldine becomes enveloped by depression, her husband, Bazil (the tribal judge), and their 13-year-old son, Joe, try desperately to identify her assailant and bring him to justice. The teen quickly grows frustrated with the slow pace of the law, so Joe and three friends take matters into their own hands. But revenge exacts a tragic price, and Joe is jarringly ushered into an adult realm of anguished guilt and ineffable sadness. Through Joe’s narration, which is by turns raunchy and emotionally immediate, Erdrich perceptively chronicles the attack’s disastrous effect on the family’s domestic life, their community, and Joe’s own premature introduction to a violent world. Agent: Andrew Wiley.

  • Library Journal

    May 15, 2012

    Erdrich continues the trilogy begun with The Plague of Doves with the story of an Ojibwe woman named Geraldine Coutts who is ruthlessly attacked one summer morning in 1988. Because she refuses to speak about the event, her husband, Bazil, and their 13-year-old son, Joe, try to answer the most basic questions, e.g., was the attacker Indian or white? Frustrated, Joe rounds up three friends and hunts for the truth himself. Erdrich is such a natural that one almost forgets how good she is; with a 100,000-copy first printing and a seven-city tour.

    Copyright 2012 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    March 25, 2013
    When Geraldine Coutts, a Native American woman living on a North Dakota reservation, is assaulted and raped, she retreats into solitude. Her husband, Antone, a tribal judge, tries in vain to find the culprit while her 13-year-old son Joe begins his own investigation. Actor Gary Farmer turns in a workmanlike performance of Erdrich’s literary mystery. He reads in crisp, clear tones—though occasionally he enunciates so carefully the narration sounds stilted and slows the pace of the story. Farmer struggles to lend unique voices to the book’s characters—and this is particularly unfortunate given the rich, varied cast. Farmer provides the bulk of the characters with vocal pacing and verbal idiosyncrasies that don’t differ from his narration. And this makes it extremely difficult for listeners to keep track of who is talking to whom and under what circumstances. A Harper hardcover.

  • Elizabeth Taylor, Chicago Tribune

    "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...

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