I’m going to be out of the blogosphere for a few weeks due to vacations and other commitments, but I couldn’t close my laptop without sending a final message out to everyone to read Louise Erdrich’s latest, The Round House. It’s phenomenal. Set in 1988, the story is told in retrospect by the now-adult Joe Coutts, who was the 13-year-old-son of a respected Native American couple when his world turned upside down with the brutal rape and near-murder of his mother. The repercussions of that assault, Joe’s quest to reveal the truth and seek vengeance, make the book a mystery (although not classified as such). A literary mystery, I suppose some would say.
Making The Round House deeper, more layered, and more compelling is the portrayal of life on the reservation and the many interconnections that serve to both illuminate and render unremarkable the beauty and the evil that are woven into daily life. Erdrich is masterful in revealing the characters in all their compelling complexity, and I marvel at her ability to show the workings of the world as seen through the eyes of a pubescent boy.
I’d love to do a more thorough review, but I’m very short on time, so I’ll just say – The Round House is highly recommended! And if you’ve not read Louise Erdrich previously, you might want to start with her earlier books, particularly A Plague of Doves, which features some of the same characters as The Round House.