The Round House
by Louise Erdrich

theroundhouseThe story of a young man whose mother is raped on disputed (reservation or non-reservation) land.

Opening paragraph:  Small trees had attacked my parents’ house at the foundation.  They were just seedlings with one of two rigid, healthy leaves.  Nevertheless, the stalky shoots had managed to squeeze through knife cracks in the decorative brown shingles covering the cement blocks.  They had grown into the unseen wall and it was difficult to pry they loose.  My father wiped his palm across his forehead and damned their toughness.  I was using a rusted old dandelion fork with a splintered handle; she wielded a long, slim iron fireplace poker that was probably doing more harm than good.  As my father prodded away blindly at the places where he sensed roots might have penetrated, he was surely making convenient holes in the mortar for next year’s seedlings.

Quotes from critics: “The novel showcases [Erdrich’s] extraordinary ability to delineate the ties of love, resentment, need, duty and sympathy that bind families together. . . .A powerful novel.” (New York Times); “Wise and suspenseful . . . Erdrich’s voice as well as her powers of insight and imagination fully infuse this novel. . . She writes so perceptively and brilliantly about the adolescent passion for justice that one is transported northward to her home territory.” (Chicago Tribune); “An artfully balanced mystery, thriller and coming-of-age story. . . . This novel will have you reading at warp speed to see what happens next.” (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Bio:  Louise Erdrich (1954- ) writes novels, poetry, and children’s books featuring Native American characters and settings. She is an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians.  She is also the owner of a small independent bookstore in Minneapolis that focuses on Native American literature.  Her novel The Plague of Doves won the Pulitzer prize.  

Award:  National Book award