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The Round House

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  87,833 ratings  ·  8,972 reviews
One of the most revered novelists of our time - a brilliant chronicler of Native-American life - Louise Erdrich returns to the territory of her bestselling, Pulitzer Prize finalist The Plague of Doves with The Round House, transporting readers to the Ojibwe reservation in North Dakota. It is an exquisitely told story of a boy on the cusp of manhood who seeks justice and un ...more
Hardcover, 323 pages
Published October 2nd 2012 by HarperCollins
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Zoe's Human For someone with my agnostic and secular outlook, it's no different than portraying Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, et. al. as real. Which is to say, I…moreFor someone with my agnostic and secular outlook, it's no different than portraying Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, et. al. as real. Which is to say, I like it just fine. People are shaped by their faith and perceive the world as validating their religion whether it appears to do so to non-believers or not. Therefore, it lends credibility to characters to see the world with the conviction of their creed.(less)
Betty Confetti This isn't really a story about forgiveness. It is about justice after tragedy. What is elastic is the form justice takes and what justifies that…moreThis isn't really a story about forgiveness. It is about justice after tragedy. What is elastic is the form justice takes and what justifies that form. The best person to represent this is Joe's father. He was constrained by the rule of law, which led to an inability to get justice in a court of law. This is ironic because he is a judge. So if he can't get the law to abide to help achieve justice, then who can? And yet he also attacked his wife's rapist in a public setting, which was an irrational act. It clearly represented his inability to forgive. It also demonstrated that justice can be achieved outside of the law, otherwise he would not have gone that route. Joe's father than uses Indian law to justify what he knew in his heart to be Joe's role in meting out justice for the original crime committed. (less)

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3.93  · 
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Will Byrnes
The Round House is a knockout of a book.

Louise Erdrich is one of the true deities in America's literary Olympus. With The Round House she has used her mythic creative powers to give us a book that can be read as a page-turner about a terrible crime, the attempt to identify the criminal and take action, or as a rich, layered look at a culture in a place and time, and a lad coming of age within it, the tale imbued with telling details, a colorful palette of imagery and cultural significance. Or b
This is a wonderful, moving book, I'm sure it will be one of my reading highlights this year. Picked it up at Newark airport last January. Great, interesting and fascinating story, variety of great and weird characters, a bit of surreal supernatural woven in, insights into the culture, traditions and life on an Indian reservation, the love of family and friends, a coming of age story which made me think a bit of Stand By Me. It's the story of Joe, 13 years old, living on an Indian reservation in ...more
Nov 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Louise Erdrich now has me as a fan, even though I've previously resisted reading her adult novels. There are two reasons for this: 1) As part of my Native American studies curriculum, I tried reading her children's book The Birchbark House to a class of second graders. It bored them to tears so I stopped reading the book aloud to them and abandoned it altogether. 2) Louise Erdrich was married to Michael Dorris, a professor/writer whose claim to Native American heritage was called into question. ...more
Feb 09, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
There is obviously a lot of erudition about Native American lore, folkways and post-colonization history that went into this book. There is also clearly a lot of love put into the detailed recreation of life on a reservation in the 1980s. And there are also the bones of a classic coming of age story here, along with some memorable characters -- the randy foul-mouthed octagenarian grandparents, the quirky postmistress who was abandoned by her white family and is a rare "adopted in" Native America ...more
Dec 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Just an observation of the truth."

I initially gave “The Round House” 3 stars. It is a good read, with some excellent characterization and I read it at a decent pace and enjoyed it while doing so. However, when I was done with it, I was like “well, that was good, what’s next?” I was hoping for it to induce more than that in me. After discussing it with my book club, I moved up my opinion of it. I am content to give it 4 stars in the end.
The good thing about this novel is that the suspense builds
Aug 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Michael by: Will Byrnes
A perfect novel to me, with Erdrich at the top of her game. Through several of her past books, she has a great track record in bringing to life a memorable line of characters in the Ojibwe tribe in North Dakota over different epochs of history. Here we get the vibrant portrait of a family on the reservation trying to recover from a brutal rape of the mother in 1988. The story is from the perspective of a 13 year old boy, Joe, with occasional overviews that reveal the fictional narrator is making ...more
Jul 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
I hate cilantro; even a tiny bit can ruin an otherwise wonderful dish. I mostly hate ghosts, mythology, dreams, religion, and political messages, and these topics all ruined an otherwise fine novel. I realize it’s a long list of dislikes, but really, a novel should be all about character and plot development.

The characters were sort of boring or too stereotypical, and the plot, though interesting, was too broken up for me to appreciate it. Okay, the main character, Joe, did struggle with the bi
Oct 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: published-2012
The Round House is narrated by Joe, a thirteen year old Indian boy (I hate the term “Native American": it sounds patronising to my ears unless you’re going to call all white Americans “ex Europeans” or some such nonsense: “Indians” might be daft but at least like “cowboys” it summons up the exotic wonder and affection of childhood) living on a reservation when the events depicted in the novel take place. When his mother is raped and becomes a shell of her former self Joe is catapulted into a pre ...more
Nov 16, 2012 rated it it was ok
Told from the perspective of a 13 year old Indian boy in 1988, it is the story of how the brutal rape of his mother effects his life, the life of his family and his community. A New York Times best seller, many must find this book compelling, however I found the writing tedious and had a hard time finishing.
Terry Everett
Jan 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What a powerful book.
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

First things first, yes I am going to use gifs even whilst reviewing a real modern day classic. Don’t like it? Suck it.

Okay. Now that that is out of the way let me ask you all a question: Are you a lunatic like me and sometimes actively seek out something in hopes that it will make you feel bad? If not, let me ‘splain things. I was born with a bit of a deficiency . . .

Palm Springs commercial photography

It takes a lot to make me have any emotion aside from happiness or
Julie Christine
Jul 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
On two successive nights this week I woke suddenly, yelling out in fright. In my dreams I was moments away from becoming the victim of a horrific assault. Shaken, I turned on the light, shifting uncomfortably in sheets soaked in my sweat, and I reached for The Round House. Louise Erdrich’s profound novel haunted my dreams and moved me to tears and laughter in my waking hours.

Geraldine Coutts, an Ojibwe living on a reservation in North Dakota, doesn’t escape from her nightmare. On a gentle spring
Jan 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a beautifully written novel about a heartbreaking story of violence and revenge.

When a Native American woman is violently attacked on the reservation, her husband and teenage son try to seek justice, each in their own way. But this book is more than that plot — it's a collection of stories of people and life on the reservation. It's also the story of a boy growing into a man, and trying to decide what kind of man he will become.

This was my first Louise Erdrich book, and I picked "The Ro
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I was in a rush to finish this tonight before the National Book Award winner was announced, and I got to the last page right as the ceremony was starting. It ended up winning this year's award, so I'm glad I chose this novel to read over the other two I didn't get to.

In an Ojibwe community, a mother is brutally raped. The novel is told from her son's perspective as their family tries to heal and they attempt to catch who did this horrible thing. Most of it is told in the time of the story, but o
Mar 13, 2013 rated it liked it
I still haven't forgiven Louise Erdrich for The Crown of Columbus, that turd of a book she wrote with her then-husband, Michael Dorris. National Book Award winner, or not, quite honestly, I only read this one because I needed a book set in North Dakota for my Reading the 50 States challenge.

I was actually fine with the main storyline of how a mother's brutal rape affects the entire family, UNTIL Erdrich began introducing minor characters with stories to tell that were far richer and more compel
Cathy DuPont
Oct 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Cathy by: Will Byrnes
With many thanks to my friend, Will Byrnes, I read The Round House and while stingy with five stars, this book was without question, five stars. If I could give it more, I would.

I had prior knowledge of the problem of crimes against women on U. S. Indian Reservations specifically the inability of determining jurisdiction of areas, adding to the fact (due to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling) that on the reservation, non-Indians cannot be charged with crimes committed on Indian reservations, so I wasn’
May 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent, a svelte thriller, a lean slice of Bildungsroman, a coming of age story. This book is the sequel to The Plague of Doves, which I have awarded five worthy stars.

It’s the late 1980s and an Indian woman has been viciously raped on her home reservation. Her son, Joe, an adolescent, and his father, a reservation judge, want to find the culprit. A homespun investigation ensues, mostly independent of local law enforcement, which appears to be ignoring the whole thing. The judge’s approach t
Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: usa, 2018-read
Native American author Louise Erdrich successfully blends crime fiction with a revenge tale, a coming-of-age story, a narrative about racism and the depiction of life on a reservation - this is the stuff that National Book Award winners are made of. At the heart of "The Round House" lies a specific social justice issue: While Native American tribes have their own courts, they can only prosecute tribal members - but over 80% of the perpetrators of rapes on reservations are non-Native, and most ar ...more
Jun 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was pretty much sucked into this story from page 1. Erdrich's narration through the eyes of a 13 year old boy is masterful. It's a difficult book to read, for sure, and be warned that it covers some pretty intense topics like rape and abuse. But it's an important story as well, and Erdrich is able to look at some big injustices in light of one character's story in a way that makes it all the more enraging. And yet there is resilience and hope in these characters as they band together. I need t ...more
Nov 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Wonderful novel, with an ending so stark and sharp and haunting. At times the narrative wanders in ways that frustrate but Erdrich's talent is undeniable and this novel reminds me of Possessing the Secret of Joy for what it does to create fiction that both tells a story and makes a political statement. This book is well worth the read.
Elyse Walters
Dec 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those stories I can't imagine 'ever' forgetting.
WOW-WOW-WOW...."The WRITING" by Louise Erdrich was EXCEPTIONAL. I wish *I* had words to describe what she 'did' on paper what I liked SOOOOOOOOO much. (I loved how the author 'inserted' ADULT *Joe* like a 'drop-of-spilled-water' into the story---then carried on 'BEING' young *Joe*: smooth -as- silk!)
Readers ALMOST didn't notice what SHE was doing. I loved how the author gave us 'enough' information needed --but not 'too much'.

Spring 1988. A woman is attacked and brutally raped somewhere in the Indian reservation. Joe, the thirteen-year-old son of Geraldine Coutts experienced the shock, horror and drama of his mother's condition when he and his father, Bazil, the tribal judge rushed her off to hospital.

Geraldine's only way of recovering was to shut herself up in a shell of silence and darkness, while the young boy struggled to grow up before the sun rose the next morning. Together with his father, and his best friend
Apr 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It was a Sunday morning in the spring of 1988 that Geraldine Coutts, a member of the Ojibwe tribe of North Dakota, whose job and responsibility it was to determine eligibility for tribal membership, hurriedly and appearing distraught, left her home for an unexpected meeting. When she returned home later that day to her husband Bazil and son Joe, they were shocked by her condition... covered with blood and appearing to be in shock. Geraldine Coutts had been severely beaten and brutally raped and ...more
Mij Woodward
Maybe it's my age (68). Maybe it's a peculiar idiosyncrasy that I am unable to tolerate ANY passages in a novel that seem to be aimed at teaching me something.

I do like to be taught. But in a novel, any teachings have to be cleverly disguised, and just sort of snuck into the plot.

Maybe all that I learned about the Chippewa in North Dakota, and the injustices they and other Native groups face from our country's stupid fractured legal system, and life on the reservation--maybe that learning deser
Joy D
Set in 1988 on an Ojibwe reservation in North Dakota, thirteen-year-old Joe’s family is devastated when his mother is subject to a vicious attack. Her reaction is to withdraw, showing all the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Unfortunately, the exact location of the crime is unclear, leading to a quandary among state, federal, and tribal jurisdictions. Joe’s father is a tribal judge, so he helps Joe understand legal ramifications. It starts out as a mystery, with Joe and his friends at ...more
May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Round House won the National Book Award for Fiction in 2012.

Hmm. A book that is focused on an adolescent boy whose mother is raped on the reservation. Not exactly my cup of tea. Added to that, Eldrich’s writing style is choppy, almost a staccato. By page 100 I was not loving this book. Mom is traumatized and will speak to no one for a month. Not a lot of plot advancement to that point.

But then we learn the story of the twins Linda (good woman) and Linden (bad dude) and the novel turns aroun
Jan 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Easily the best book I've read in 2012. So good that I'm writing my first review. The Round House is beautiful, sobering, and heartbreaking, yet manages some humorous moments as well. At its surface, this book is about a rape committed on an Ojibwe reservation, the aftermath of this brutality. At its heart, it is about what we call "soul wounds", redemption, the abiding love a boy has for his mother, the coming of age of a boy whose life is defined by one tragic event, and the sad truth of how p ...more
Diane Yannick
Dec 18, 2012 rated it liked it
National Book Award? Not for me. An important Native American legal loophole was brought to light.---when a Native American woman is raped by a non-native man, legal jurisprudence is lacking. For me, this could have been done more effectively with a tighter, more focused story.

I cared about Joe, the 13 year old whose mother was raped. I appreciated the author's authentic voice and her use of elder's stories when they directly related to the storyline.

What I didn't like was all of those rambling
Oct 05, 2012 rated it liked it
The National Book Award Winner for Fiction (2012)

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
A copy of The Round House was provided to me by Harper Collins for review purposes.

'The sun fell onto the kitchen floor in golden pools, but it was an ominous radiance, like the piercing light behind a western cloud.'

In 1988, thirteen year old Joe is forever changed when he and his father come home to find his mother covered in blood. She had been attacked, but she managed to get away to safety. Joe is unable to understand
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Reading is my own journey of discovery, not seldom of self-discovery. There is so much I don’t know, so many authors I haven’t yet encountered, so much yet I wish to find out - so I keep sampling, sometimes almost at random. I keep collecting reading experiences as bits and pieces for my own personal puzzle - a bit here, and a bit there. Some books do not qualify as puzzle pieces, they are only repetitions, enhancements perhaps, temporary joys and pleasures. Some others though - the joy of disco ...more
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Karen Louise Erdrich is a American author of novels, poetry, and children's books. Her father is German American and mother is half Ojibwe and half French American. She is an enrolled member of the Anishinaabe nation (also known as Chippewa). She is widely acclaimed as one of the most significant Native writers of the second wave of what critic Kenneth Lincoln has called the Native American Renais ...more
“Now that I knew fear, I also knew it was not permanent. As powerful as it was, its grip on me would loosen. It would pass.” 63 likes
“I stood there in the shadowed doorway thinking with my tears. Yes, tears can be thoughts, why not?” 54 likes
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