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The Round House: A Novel | [Louise Erdrich]

The Round House: A Novel

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (1051 )
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3.9 (896 )
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Performance
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  •  
    F. Christy-Ali Minneapolis, MN United States 02-25-13
    F. Christy-Ali Minneapolis, MN United States 02-25-13 Member Since 2013

    Amazon junkie

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "local Erdrich fan"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    yes, but only if you have read some other works by Louise Erdrich there are characters that pepper this novel from some of her earlier works that make it delightful to hear them mentioned again.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Linda - she just had a mystery about her.


    What does Gary Farmer bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His voice but I felt his accent was spot on...and brought real life to the male characters especially.


    If you could take any character from The Round House out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    That's tough probably "ooops" I just loved him!


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    megan CONCORD, NH, United States 12-05-12
    megan CONCORD, NH, United States 12-05-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Erdrich Fan"

    I enjoy Louise Erdrich books. Some mystery and suspense mixed in with a well written personal family history. They show the Native American contemporary experience in a new way for me. The Round House is not too long and Gary Farmer does a nicely paced read.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kelly Omaha, NE, United States 01-03-13
    Kelly Omaha, NE, United States 01-03-13 Member Since 2011
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    "It was not my favorite"

    This book was beautifully written, but I was a little bored while listening. I felt detached from the characters and found my mind wandered quite often.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leslie PERALTA, NM, United States 11-01-12
    Leslie PERALTA, NM, United States 11-01-12 Member Since 2001
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    "great storytelling"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Round House to be better than the print version?

    Yes, Gary Farmer was wonderful. Perfect voice.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Round House?

    The elders telling stories.


    What does Gary Farmer bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He has a great voice, a great rhythm and a sense of the stories.


    If you could take any character from The Round House out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    the father


    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alba Cranston, RI, United States 10-29-12
    Alba Cranston, RI, United States 10-29-12 Member Since 2009
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    "One of my favorite (loved) Erdrich books."

    The reader is perfect, just what the story needs, the voice of a native American. This book has all of Erdrich's best qualities: story, passion, mystery, humor, caritas. I will read it again & again.

    9 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K. Shaw Atlanta, GA 03-28-13
    K. Shaw Atlanta, GA 03-28-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Not your usual intense mystery"
    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Round House?

    The teenage boys watching a video they liked by peering through the priest's window into his home.


    Any additional comments?

    I listened to the audio version of this book. It was an OK story that was well told but just not my usual intense mystery/thriller. This was a slight mystery/drama set in the late 80's on an Indian reservation and told from a 13 year old boy's perspective. I will say there are some very funny moments with the 13 year old boy and his buddies.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rhonda Vida, OR, United States 03-25-13
    Rhonda Vida, OR, United States 03-25-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Reflective and Thoughtful"
    What did you love best about The Round House?

    The narrator's voice and style matched the cultural context and storytelling of the native people very well.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Promotes culture values and beliefs, while providing an excellent well developed plot.


    What about Gary Farmer’s performance did you like?

    Excellent!


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When the woman that was raped set up and spoke when she heard the baby's name mentioned in a conversation, who she was protecting by her silence.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. D Strother Potomac, MD United States 03-19-13
    C. D Strother Potomac, MD United States 03-19-13 Member Since 2000
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    "certain flawed premises but a good "read""
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. The story is well-written and compelling. I thought the narrator was great. To describe it is diffcult. It is a coming of age story, sure. It is a thriller, sure. But it is more than that, and the description of reservation life sounds authentic.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Round House?

    Lots of memorable moments. The priest's chasing the kid all around was particularly good. And ths strip tease, although that was not at all convincing as realistic and I thought it hit a very off note. Golf course scene was amazing.


    Have you listened to any of Gary Farmer’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No. I like the narrator a lot, though.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Somewhat. The story was fairly compelling. I would say there were sections that were hard to put down. But then there were breaks in the action.


    Any additional comments?

    I thought the final section was superfluous and seemed like it was just dopped in for emotional impact. There were some arguably jarring not believeable aspects of the book. No way those kids were 13 years old. Maybe 16. There are jurisdiction issues with enforcing criminal law in and around Native American reservations, but clearly this would not have been one, unless one considers kidnapping and assault to be a mnor crime.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Claudia SHARON, CT, United States 03-04-13
    Claudia SHARON, CT, United States 03-04-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great new book by a wonderful writer."

    Listening drew me into the lives of the characters more than reading it would have.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Erica Aitken Madison, CT United States 03-02-13
    Erica Aitken Madison, CT United States 03-02-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Bought the book instead"

    Well written vintage Louise Erdrich. I loved the book, the story, about the very important issue of violence against Native American women. Written with sensitivity and also with Erdrich's characteristic humor, it's a book you can't put down.
    But the reader is awful. He was chosen I suppose because he is or sounds Native American (think Free Willie) which would have been nice. But this reader ends his sentences in the middle of a sentence. You can almost see the period. And then takes up again to finish. Ad he reads very slowly.
    I bought the book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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