National Book Award, Fiction, 2012
One Sunday in the spring of 1988, a woman living on a reservation in North Dakota is attacked. The details of the crime are slow to surface as Geraldine Coutts is traumatized and reluctant to relive or reveal what happened, either to the police or to her husband, Bazil, and 13-year-old son, Joe. In one day, Joe's life is irrevocably transformed. He tries to heal his mother, but she will not leave her bed and slips into an abyss of solitude. Increasingly alone, Joe finds himself thrust prematurely into an adult world for which he is ill prepared.
While his father, who is a tribal judge, endeavors to wrest justice from a situation that defies his efforts, Joe becomes frustrated with the official investigation and sets out with his trusted friends, Cappy, Zack, and Angus, to get some answers of his own. Their quest takes them first to the Round House, a sacred space and place of worship for the Ojibwe. And this is only the beginning.
Written with undeniable urgency, and illuminating the harsh realities of contemporary life in a community where Ojibwe and white live uneasily together, The Round House is a brilliant and entertaining novel, a masterpiece of literary fiction. Louise Erdrich embraces tragedy, the comic, a spirit world very much present in the lives of her all-too-human characters, and a tale of injustice that is, unfortunately, an authentic reflection of what happens in our own world today.
©2012 Louise Erdrich (P)2012 HarperCollinsPublishers
I couldn't help but think of the coming of age film Stand By Me while listening to this book. Despite the brutal assault and its aftermath interweaving through the story, I didn't feel this book was too noir or dark - if you're worried you can't handle the subject matter, I'd say try taking it on. The Round House documents the growth of a young man on a reservation, at a pivotal time in his adolescence, as he begins to understand racisms and 'Indian'isms and all sorts of things about the world. I loved Erdrich's writing - it was easy to get lost in - clear and true to its source but not overly verbose. This is a big story, and it contains tales within, so if you are looking for a quick read this may not be the best book for you. I can also see how the narrator might be off-putting, I would listen to a sample before purchasing. I loved his voice and style of narration, found it very refreshing, and thought it went perfectly with the story.
I loved its honesty, a hallmark of all of her novels.
The narrator and main character, of course, is my favorite, mostly because of his courage, but also because of his growth throughout the story.
Gary Farmer is so perfect for this. His attention to phrasing and timing is stellar. Other than the narrator himself, I liked his portrayal of the women. He achieves the subtle character changes without any distraction.
"Roundhouse Attack" maybe, but it is not better.
Louise Erdrich has created a book for young adults in this novel. I teach 9th grade English, and will be adding this title to my suggested reading list. Its themes are relevant to all young people in many way. These themes include parental issues, peer issues, and dealing with strong feelings of loyalty, passion, sexuality, and violence, to name a few. I thoroughly enjoyed the first person narrative aspect as well as the glimpse into native american experience and culture, which is the the trademark of this author.
....so I can complete my consumption of this story, which is pretty good about a third of the way in.
It has my interest, but I have real real trouble with the narrator. It's not just his cadence, which some others have mentioned and is a *little* distracting, but his very strange choices of when to inject feeling and emphasis, which I ultimately found *too* distracting to continue listening.
Sorry, not a chance.
This could have been a great audiobook with a different narrator. I set a ton of bookmarks, all of which were to share with my husband the best of the slurs, awkward intonations, and odd mid-sentence pauses. I did like when he read for mooshim - but that's it.
I would advise: listen to a sample first - if you can take Mr. Farmer, then you will probably enjoy this book.
The detail of the lives, surroundings and situations really put you into the story. This is something I believe Louise E. does best.
I have read nearly all of her books and could feel the connection between characters and her other books.
The one where oops! was sleeping in the room with his grandfather and heard him tell the stories of the past in his sleep.
A wonderful story and characters and the reader was great to listen to.
Louise Erdrich's ability to tell a captivating story made this a book I couldn't stop listening to once again. Her characters have depth and color that make them memorable. Her storyline is not predictable. She hooks you and holds you throughout.
The characters were marvelous. Warm, intriguing, and surprising.
At the school where I used to work, we often had Native American storytellers. Gary Farmer performed the story with similar cadence and tonal quality of those storytellers so it added to the believability of the story for me.
Joe - a young boy being thrust into an adult world earlier than expected but with his own integrity and love of family.
The ending was a surprise and left me wanting more.
Lyrical, beautiful, complicated
This story offers a life-like portrait of difficulties led by Native Americans.
This narrator was the low point of this audio book for me. The narrator was hard to understand and the sound quality was bad. For an award winning book of this quality, I am very disappointed by the narration.
I enjoyed Joe and his Aunt Sonya. They were both interesting and complex characters.
Do not use this narrator again. Seriously. Have YOU listened to this entire book?
A story about a people we frequently forget about but were here long before most of us, immigrants on this land.
I loved the humanity, the emotion, the search for justice, and of course the voice of brave 13 year-old Joe.
I had to relisten to multiple chapters just for the pleasure of listening to the flow of the words and the telling of story (for example Nanapush)..
The reader, Gary Farmer, is very distracting. For the first 15 minutes I think he was on Valium or nervous or something that made his rhythms rather bizarre. I really think there was some slurred speech in the beginning. But, all of a sudden, the voice changed. There was some enthusiasm and the story came alive. The story is tragic and powerful and raw and Louise Erdrich does not make it easy on you. She is nothing less than amazing. But I honestly think that it ought to be re-recorded to be experienced without the distraction of this reading.
Erdrich is one of my very favorite authors, so I looked forward to listening to The Round House. The narration was extremely odd and halting, almost as if the narrator had just recently learned to read. The wrong words in a sentence were emphasized, the pace was inconsistent, and it was very distracting. I strongly recommend The Round House, but even more strongly recommend that you buy the actual book and read it, not listen to it.
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