Monday, October 22, 2012

The Round House

I am a fan of Louise Erdrich's books.  I just want to state that right from the start!  Her latest novel is The Round House, published this year.  I don't consider it to be the best of her novels that I have read, but, that being said, I still thought that it was quite good.

The Round House is told by Joe, a thirteen year old only child of Bazil and Geraldine Coutts.  The family lived on a reservation in North Dakota.   Bazil Coutts was a well-respected tribal judge, and Geraldine was a tribal enrollment specialist.  One Sunday afternoon, Geraldine got a phone call and left the house to go to her office. When, after several hours, she had not returned home, Joe and his father borrowed a car to go find her.  She was not at her office, so they headed to the grocery store to see if she was there.  Upon realizing that the store was closed on Sunday, they headed back home.  They returned the borrowed car, then begin walking up their driveway.  As they came to the house, they saw that Geraldine was sitting in her car.  Thus begins the journey for Joe.

Geraldine had been attacked and was severely traumatized by the event.  She would not leave her bedroom or talk or share anything that had happened to her, leaving Joe and his father trying to put together pieces of exactly what had happened.

Joe wanted to help his mother heal, but she remained resistant. Meanwhile, Joe became frustrated with the lack of progress being made in the case and decided to find out who had attacked his mother.  His three childhood friends joined him.  The boys began to find some clues and evidence of the crime, and Joe began the struggle of what constitutes justice.

The book is a good story.  I especially enjoyed the stories that were included that were told by Joe's old grandfather.  The story is a good mystery with lots of humor, and serious struggles.

The Round House was a National Book Award Finalist for Fiction for 2012. (In 2009, Ms. Erdrich's novel Plague of Doves was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize). The Round House is her fourteenth novel.  Her novels are all based on Native American themes.  Ms. Erdrich's maternal grandfather was the tribal chairman for the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians in the 1950's (taken from Wikipedia).

(Want to know my favorite Louise Erdrich novel?  It is The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No House, published in 2001).

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