The Round House

The Round House

Book - 2012 | First edition.
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When his mother, a tribal enrollment specialist living on a reservation in North Dakota, slips into an abyss of depression after being brutally attacked, 14-year-old Joe Coutz sets out with his three friends to find the person that destroyed his family.
Publisher: New York, NY : Harper, 2012.
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2012
ISBN: 9780062065247
Branch Call Number: FIC ERDRICH
Characteristics: 321 pages ; 24 cm


From Library Staff

A powerful novel about a crime, a family, and an Ojibwe boy thrust into an adult world too soon.

With lyrical prose and a strong sense of place, The Round House takes an intimate and bleak look at tribal justice and the bonds of family.

What is justice, when your horribly abused mother is caught in such a tangle of modern laws that none will take her on? Check out Erdrich's Birchbark House series for a younger audience.

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Oct 19, 2019

Great writer. Consistently an author I like to read.

Oct 10, 2019

There was a point in this book when I finished a page and felt like my eyes had been opened. I think my awakening coincided with an expansion of Joe's (main character) awareness of his circumstanses and the history of his people. Previous to this point Erdich describes life on the reservation, a place of limited opportunities compared to the outside world, which is exposed through the media of television and movies. After the point where I awoke the author began speaking in a more poetic manner, connecting age old stories with the current conditions and Joe's understanding of the world. I felt disappointed at the end, not with any fault of the author, but with the reality of the life that Joe was walking into.

Jul 04, 2019

While I feel like this covered a very delicate topic and included a lot of relevant information I found this read to be a bit slow. It took me a while to get through this book unfortunately and I didn't find it as riveting as I had hoped. Overall I applaud the author for the topic of choice but feel the story could have been told better.

Apr 10, 2019

Great read about a tough subject.

Jan 29, 2019

One of my all-time favorite novels. I am "in the tank" for Louise Erdrich.

Aug 11, 2018

Beautiful writing. Just beautiful.

DBRL_IdaF Jul 13, 2017

What happens when a heinous crime is committed but a matter of geography means nobody has the authority to prosecute? Joe Coutts is 13 years old, a resident of the North Dakota Ojibwe Reservation. His father is a judge and his mother is the tribal enrollment officer.

When his mother is beaten and raped, the family must deal with their own emotions and relationships, and also a legal system that is full of holes when it comes to protecting Native Americans.

There are some raw emotions in this powerfully told story. The characters are real and layered. Erdrich does not go for an easy feel-good resolution. Though political issues help drive the plot, it's not preachy.

Librarian_Deb Jun 12, 2017

After reading this novel I knew more about and I cared more about the injustice that Native Americans face every day. That speaks volumes to the power of Erdich's storytelling, as she uses the voice of a 13 year old boy to draw the reader into a story where a powerful white man commits a sordid crime against a Native American woman. The woman Geraldine, the 13 year old boy is Joe and his world is shattered when his vibrant mother is suddenly transformed into a shell of what she once was by a violent attack. Joe's father is a tribal judge, so you would expect he would know how to make sure that his wife's attacker is captured and prosecuted. However the location of the attack is unclear and the laws regarding who governs reservation land render Joe's dad and Joe's community powerless. In between moments of normal teenage fun with his friends and learning about Native American ways from his elders, Joe gradually learns more and more about what happened to his mother and how powerless his family is to stop her attacker. He then faces an awful choice--should he take the law into his own hands?
This book, though it tackles a grim subject, is also filled with lighthearted moments as Joe and his friends indulge in the normal escapades of youth--such as fooling around with girls and antagonizing the local Catholic priest. The reader also gets to experience life on a reservation through Joe's interactions with his bawdy older female relatives, the stories his ancient great uncle, and the pow wow gatherings he attends. These all mesh together to make for a highly enjoyable and thought provoking read. It was an excellent choice for our book discussion group, as the issues of justice it raised gave us plenty to talk about and we were also able to laugh over some of Joe's adventures.

Jan 09, 2017

For me it was interesting to learn about some of the traditions of the native North American Indians, which they are following up to now, at least, at a time in question of the book - - 80s of last century. The confusion in the mind of a teenager, who was swept by challenges of adult life, which he decided to solve by himself. At times, the book becomes tedious. But then, again, as if picking up the rhythm after a short sleep.

Dec 10, 2016

The Round House was my first of Louise Erdrich's books and I've since read Plague of Doves and am working on her children's book, The Birchbark House. There is something about her writing that makes me want to continue reading, even when the subject matters revolve around death and murder and racism. They are difficult reads, yet you're compelled to keep reading and feel better for it at the end.

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siammarino Oct 22, 2014

Joe lives on an Indian reservation in the 60's with his parents and extended family. When his mother is brutally raped by a white man, Joe's life changes forever. Since his father's authority as a judge does not extend to crimes by whites on the reservation, Joe decides to exact revenge himself. This novel was an eye-opener to the plight of Indians. In the afterward, Erdrich says that 1 in 3 Indian women are raped by whites. I enjoyed learning about Indian history and culture. Much of the dialog was amusing.


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mrsgail5756 Mar 27, 2013

“If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” -George Washington


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