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 as 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, who is 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.
Pages: 321 (hardback)
Publisher: Published October 2nd 2012 by Harper Collins
Rating: 10 out of 10
Source: Checked out of the library
Date Completed: October 9, 2013
I kept hearing that The Round House by Louis Erdrich was an amazing book; I nominated it to be read by book club many times. When I heard that Erdrich won the National Book Award, I decided to read it on my own. My takeaway is that this book should be on the must-read list for humanity. The story is compelling, the characters sympathetic to the point that I worried about Joe when I was not reading and compared all the different types of parents I know to his. I learned a lot about reservation life and tribal law. There was a scene where Joe's father was explaining tribal law with the use of a frozen casserole which I keep replaying. The unfairness and complexity of seeking justice in a screwed up legal system was illustrated beautifully. In addition to the plot development, I also liked hearing about the traditions; particularly the story telling.