Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Round House

I have read most of Louise Erdrich's early books, including The Beet Queen,  Love Medicine, and Tracks, but haven't read her for awhile. This latest book of hers has gotten a lot of good reviews in the press and I have heard good buzz about it in the library, so my book group picked it for our discussion last week. Erdrich writes about the Native American population in her books (her mother was a Chippewa), and this book begins with the violent assault and rape of a Native American woman, Geraldine, in a sacred round house on the Ojibwe reservation in North Dakota. The pleasant life she had with her husband (a tribal judge) and 13-year-old son Joe has just come to a brutal end. Unable to recover from the attack, Geraldine lies in bed for weeks under the cloud of a deep depression, and literally cannot move, let alone go on with her life. Because of the complexities of the Native American justice system,  the person they all believe to be the rapist cannot be tried. So Joe believes it is up to him to seek justice for his mother and to reclaim his family's life. The book is very well written; Erdrich can really tell a good story. There are a whole host of interesting characters and separate story lines, in fact in discussing the book we all felt it could almost have been a book of short stories.  Joe's best friend Cappy, a colorful priest and Iraqi war vet, Joe's beloved grandfather Mooshum, a white woman who is abandoned at birth by her parents and raised on the Ojibwe reservation--all have stories to tell within the main plot, and add depth to the novel. The book made for a good discussion of the Native American culture and its problems, as well as the issue of justice, and we all enjoyed reading it, although most of us did not like the ending.

1 comment:

  1. I read this about a month or so ago. I thought it was a great read and loved the teenage son and his friends. I did not mind the ending.r