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The Round House

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  77,250 Ratings  ·  8,206 Reviews
The Round House won the National Book Award for fiction.

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
Paperback, 321 pages
Published September 24th 2013 by Harper Perennial (first published October 2nd 2012)
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Michelle 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)
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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 be
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
Aug 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
Terry Everett
Jan 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a powerful book.
Nov 16, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
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
Cathy DuPont
Oct 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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’
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
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
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
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
Feb 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recht versus Gerechtigkeit

"Eine beeindruckende menschliche Geschichte". Erdrich dringt in den dunkelsten Winkel eines Menschen und so zum Grund der Wahrheit über eine ganze Gemeinschaft vor."

Der 13-jährige Joe und seine drei Freunde Cappy, Zack und Angus führen ein unbeschwertes Leben in einem Reservat in North Dakota. Eines Tages wird Joes Mutter Geraldine Opfer eines brutalen Übergriffs, bei dem sie sich in letzter Minute retten kann. Schwer traumatisiert und depressiv verläßt sie ihr Zimmer n
Jan 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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'.

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
Jan Rice
Don't you Indians have your own hospital over there?

It's 1988 and Joe and his father have brought his grievously injured mother to the hospital. He doesn't evade his interlocutor's gaze; his mother has taught him how to respond when such sentiments break out.

There has been a crime. But because this is a reservation and because the location of the scene of the crime isn't clear, the perpetrator walks. His mother has been devastated. His idolized father, a tribal judge, is suddenly stripped of s
Jun 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I am not even going to try and review this book because Will did such a fantastic job of it already:

I only want to add that the friendship between Joe and his best friend Cappy was so affecting it almost killed me.
I forgot that when reading Erdrich, I need to play close attention and remember everything because everything has meaning or returns later in some fashion.
I absolutely love the way this woman writes.

It seems that there have been readers who thought they would be getting a crime-solving mystery with this book and have been disappointed. I think there is as much crime-solving mystery here as there is in To Kill a Mockingbird. Actually, if you mix that book with "Stand By Me" and some Sherman Alexi
Apr 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Diane Yannick
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 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mosca by: Louise Erdrich

Louise Erdrich surprises me every time.

I feared that this book was going in one direction for almost 85% of its progression. But, behaving like the stealth predators she references repeatedly here, Louise Erdrich restructures the assumptions; and compels the reader to reassess.

We are then trapped.

So much is brought together in the last 15% that this reader will certainly re-read this book.

History, the Spirit world, our depraved political and legal nightmare
Another beautifully written book by Louise Erdrich that weaves a magical aura around the reader. The characters and circumstances in this novel will make you think long after you are done reading.
Nov 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, america
A violent sexual attack. A woman too afraid to talk. The trauma that takes her inward; the husband and son left to deal.


Yet this story is about so much more. It is about a son's love, about a teenage boy who turns detective and recruits his friends to search for his mother's attacker. It is a story about best friends, the male dynamic; about family. It is a story told through the tangles of love, lust, deceit, and greed.

The novel provides a pastoral landscape of the Native American c
The Round House has been described as “riveting and suspenseful”. I felt neither. It starts off with the promise of a good mystery and tense family drama. Poor Joe, a thirteen year old boy, has witnessed the aftermath of a horrific crime against his mother. Since the story is told by Joe, I wanted the focus to be on his search for justice, but we get his thoughts on Star Trek, his obsession with big boobs, silly comments regarding the male appendage, and lots of puke. (Of course, Joe is thirteen ...more
I've read and enjoyed a number of Erdrich's books and wanted very much to enjoy this one as well. Unfortunately I didn't. I kept waiting for it to grab me, for something more powerful to come along, for something to truly happen. But nothing ever did. I hate to say it, but, to my dismay, I found this story dull. I could feel throughout the story an underlining subtlety of emotion and, well, story, but it was never released. Perhaps because I found the characters too softly defined - I simply cou ...more
Nov 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Beautifully written, told from the perspective of a 13 year old Ojibwe boy, Joe, whose mother is brutally attacked in the Round House, a sacred site of worship. Erdrich provides an interesting look at life on an Indian reservation in the 1980's, but the relationships between Joe, his family and his friends are what gives the story its heart and soul. The mystery of what happened to Joe's mom and why is so compelling that I wanted to race to the conclusion, but pace yourself - this is a book to s ...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
More about Louise Erdrich...
“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.” 57 likes
“I stood there in the shadowed doorway thinking with my tears. Yes, tears can be thoughts, why not?” 50 likes
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