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The Round House [Kindle Edition]

Louise Erdrich
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)

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Book Description

One Sunday in 1988, thirteen-year-old Joe Coutts learns that his mother has been the victim of a brutal attack by a man on their North Dakota reservation.

Joe's mother is traumatized and afraid. She takes to her bed, and refuses to talk to anyone - including the police; meanwhile his father, a tribal judge, endeavours to wrest justice from a situation that defies his keenest efforts; and young Joe's moral and emotional landscape shifts on its child's axis.

Frustrated, confused and nursing a complicated fury, Joe sets out with his best friends Cappy, Zack and Angus in search of answers that might put his mother's attacker behind bars - and set his family's world straight again. Or so he hopes.

The Round House is a powerful and deeply humane story of a young boy pitched prematurely into an unjust adult world. It confirms Louise Erdrich as one of America's most distinctive contemporary novelists.

Product Description


The Round House showcases [Erdrich's] extraordinary ability to delineate the ties of love, resentment, need, duty and sympathy that bind families together...[a] powerful novel. (New York Times)

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. (Washington Post)

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)

A gripping mystery with a moral twist: revenge might be the harshest punishment, but only for the victims. (Entertainment Weekly)

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

Book Description

Hailed in the US as a Native-American To Kill A Mockingbird, and shortlisted for the US National Book Award, The Round House is Louise Erdrich's undeniable - and unmissable - masterpiece.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1956 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Corsair (7 Feb. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #37,886 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Louise Erdrich is one of the most gifted, prolific, and challenging of American novelists. Her fiction reflects aspects of her mixed heritage: German through her father, and French and Ojibwa through her mother. She is the author of many novels, the first of which, Love Medicine, won the National Book Critics Circle Award and the last of which, The Round House, won the National Book Award for Fiction in 2012. She lives in Minnesota.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
(4.5 stars) Author Louise Erdrich, a member of the Chippewa (Ojibwa) nation, here writes one of her most powerful and emotionally involving novels. Though it starts as a crime story on the reservation, it quickly becomes an intense search for justice on all levels. It is also an examination of the lives of her characters, both old and young, as they face the challenges of reservation life. Their lives, as she shows in this novel, are seriously restricted by 1988, when this novel's action takes place, and any Native American who wants to honor the "old ways" on the reservation must now survive on infertile lands which cannot support them. Their culture has been seriously compromised by the arrival of Catholic missionaries who have weaned them away from their myths and traditions. Significantly, legal jurisdiction over crimes involving Native Americans now involves tribal officials, state police, and even the FBI.

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.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Multi-Layered Narrative 21 Mar. 2013
This was my first encounter with Louise Erdrich's writing and it was, for the most part, an extremely rewarding experience. It can be read on many different levels as, on the surface, it's a coming of age story but look a little deeper and there are insights into the nature of justice, cultural identity and family relationships.

Our narrator, Joe, has had to grow up very quickly after the horrific rape of his mother. Following this brutal attack she retreats into her own world and Joe thinks finding the attacker is the only way he can bring her back from this limbo. It will be difficult to bring her assailant to justice due to the legislative difficulty in prosecuting crimes committed by non-Natives on Native American territory. Erdrich highlights the plight of Native American female rape victims, 86% of whom have non-Native assailants and very few are prosecuted.

Yes, there is a political agenda but the story of Joe and his gang of friends has great charm and warmth. You get a glimpse of Native American culture via a cast of vibrant, engaging characters. Admittedly the narrative has its meandering moments but stick with it and your attentive reading will be rewarded. Looking forward to catching up on many other gems from this author.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Most Unusual Coming-of-Age Story 28 Dec. 2012
"Therefore the law is powerless, And justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; Therefore perverse judgment proceeds." -- Habakkuk 1:4 (NKJV)

Be careful what you read about this book. I originally decided against reading it based on reviews I had seen. Well, those reviews were describing a book quite different from the one that I just finished reading, a book well worth my time and attention.

While many people like to think of the law as a nearly perfect system for administering justice, it can be more like Swiss cheese in terms of how many holes wrongdoers can wriggle through. In The Round House, Ms. Erdrich combines the intellectual power of law review hypothetical with the awful pain experienced from being physically violated and left in fear, as well as a coming-of-age story that you'll remember as long as you will Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. I thought the description of how Native American legal sovereignty is being built was worth the price of the book, alone.

So what's it all about? A brutal crime occurs and little progress is made in solving it. Yet the family that's affected is virtually brought to its knees. The husband and son in their own ways seek justice. The contrast in their approaches makes for fascinating discussions ... making this a remarkable book club choice.

I can't go into more, but the resolution of who did what to whom is used to tell a more universal story about what it's like to be human and how evil threatens those who are not fully on guard.

I won't say "enjoy" because it's not that kind of book. It more of a "think" book.

Brava, Ms. Erdrich!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complex plotting in this Native American mystery 25 April 2013
By Thomas Cunliffe TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
I'd only vaguely heard of Lousie Erdrich before coming to this book but have now found out that she is an acclaimed writer of books featuring Native Americans and is enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians.

The Round House is a very well-written book from an obviously mature writer. You don't get to be this good a writer overnight and Erdrich's previous dozen or so novels have born fruit in this complex novel about a Native American boy on the cusp of manhood grappling with a terrible violation of his mother Geraldine by an anonymous stranger.

The book opens one Sunday in 1988 when Joe's mother fails to return home in time to make the dinner. Joe and his father go out in the car to look for her and after a few visits to places she might be, they suddenly see her speeding towards them in the other direction, "riveted, driving over the speed limits, anxious to get back home to us".

When Joe and his father have turned round and arrived home they find Geraldine in a terrible state, vomit down the front of her dress, and her dark blood soaking the car seat. She has been raped. They rush her to hospital but she is unable to talk about what happened to her, either to her family or to the police, a silence which continues long after she returns home. Geraldine is so traumatised that she takes to her bed and retreats into herself, refusing to talk to anyone and spending much of the day either sleeping or pretending to be asleep.

Joe's father Bazil is a judge, and Joe has always looked up to him, respectful of his place in the community. But while Bazil tries hard to get to grips with his wife's condition, nothing seems to penetrate her psychic isolation.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I had no idea what to expect and have been ...
I had no idea what to expect and have been very pleasantly surprised by quality of writing and of plot and characterisation and I look forward to reading more by Louise. Read more
Published 2 months ago by David Praill
5.0 out of 5 stars A history lesson on Native Americans and a very good read at the same...
I loved this book. Apart from a great storyline, it was fascinating learning about the history of the Native Americans and their troubles over the generations. Read more
Published 3 months ago by What do I know ...
3.0 out of 5 stars The narrator is a Native American lawyer looking back 25 ...
The narrator is a Native American lawyer looking back 25 years to his mother’s rape at a time when Indian reservations received astonishingly few protections under US law. Read more
Published 5 months ago by T. F. Wells
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting and touching
Highly recommended- an insight into a world where due process and law as we know it may or may not exist, depending on circumstances. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Curnie
4.0 out of 5 stars Powers to a poignant finish
Combining a coming-of-age story with a gruesome crime story, padded with a concentration of the distorted and (at times ridiculous and ridiculously unfair) laws which govern life... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Judy Croome
4.0 out of 5 stars Emotionally compelling
I'm a great fan of Louise Erdrich, and this is one of her best. It's more narrow and focused than Plague of Doves, with a single narrator and a crime thriller feel. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Ana Ouprio
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read
Fascinating insight. rich and deep characters. really intelligent portrayal of the emotions Joe's Mother is dealing with. I can wholeheartedly. recommend this book.
Published 9 months ago by Kindle Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good book to read but not a light read.
Published 9 months ago by John P Spalding
4.0 out of 5 stars Book Group Reading
This book split out book group - some loved it whilst others really disliked it or found the central rape story difficult to cope with . It provoked lots of discussion . Read more
Published 10 months ago by tinkerbell
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written
A wonderful insight into the culture of indigenous americans and a beautiful story. Perfect for our bookclub with plenty to discuss.
Published 12 months ago by cycling mum
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