Round House, The
Joe is thirteen when his mother was assaulted on the North Dakota Chippewa reservation where they lived. Even though his father was a tribal judge, conflicting jurisdictions meant the rule of law was of little use. Grappling with his mother's withdrawal and the perpetrator roaming free, Joe and his friends set out in the pursuit of their own brand of justice, with shocking consequences.
Juggling indigenous culture, a coming of age story and a whodunnit, this is an engrossing and fascinating insight into reservation life.
Winner of the 2012 (USA) National Book Award.
Comments from Groups
Loved this one! So many angles to discuss. Excellent book group fodder. Raumati 005
A very diverse reaction to this book. Most found the Indian culture very interesting, but in some parts there was too much information ie. the Mooshum stories. A novel that covered a difficult topic in a well crafted manner. The author captured the character of a 13 year old boy and his view of the adult world, very well. Papamoa 001
We all agreed that this beautifully written book was one of the best we have read as a group. Taihape 002
This gave a profound insight into the impact of rape, not only on the victim but family, community and cultural beliefs.We enjoyed the thought-provoking issue of Indian cultural values, laws and beliefs clashing with the laws of a country that indigenous people have to live by. Auckland 280
We all enjoyed this book! The notes by Raymond Huber were very informative. Hamilton 034
A beautifully written, multi-layered and sensitive novel. We loved it and had a great discussion. Lower Hutt 006
Most of us really liked this book - the rich life of the reservation, the tension of the central plot, the questions of moral justice versus legal justice. Particular scenes stood out, especially the chase from the confessional and the surprise ending. Wellington 036.
This was highly rated both for the plot and for the skill of the writing.
This is the second book by this author that the group has read, and this one was also enjoyed by most of the group. Some were worried about the content, as one of the characters is the victim of a rape, but it was handled in a manner that was neither gratuitous nor unnecessarily upsetting. An excellent discussion book on the law regarding rape and the treatment of indigenous women.
Thought-provoking. Not everybody would recommend it, but we all read it and in our discussion made connections to other countries' situations.
Everyone thoroughly enjoyed this novel. A real insight into Native American life on a reservation, and the challenges of tribal law and justice. The story was sympathetically and sensitively told.
One of the most popular books this year - educational, engaging, but horrifying in its contemporary setting. Well drawn, convincing and "different" characters.
Our group had a 3:1 split on liking/disliking this book, but most enjoyed. We liked the author's writing, and descriptions of events and relationships. Most knew little of life on a reservation, and found the lack of civil rights distressing. Half expressed interest in reading more by Louise Erdrich.
Most people had read the book. Some found the multitude of facial expressions very evocative; others found the multitude of themes overwhelming - however the complexity was compelling with many topical issues. We found it poignant and concerning that the issues around treatment of Native American women still exist.
A novel by a very clever writer who is amazingly observant, and is able to use few words to very powerful effect. Her knowledge and insight come through in the writing, and the story serves to inform the reader of the injustices suffered by the Native American people. All thought it was a very powerful book and enjoyed it very much. Highly recommended.
There were mixed reactions to this book. Those who read it completely agreed that it was an interesting insight into life on an American Indian reservation. While it was a narrative, the non-use of quotation marks in specific/appropriate locations made the writing sometimes difficult to follow. The discussion led onto talking about the treatment of Aborigines in Australia. The book is recommended to those interested in American literature.
So much to discuss - a big family saga with issues of Native American Indian rights, rape, adolescent boys and justice. A good read.