A Year in Recommendations: Round House, by Louise Erdrich

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Source: goodreads.com

Few books startle me, but Louise Erdrich’s Round House was one of those few. This 2013 National Book Award winner is a gripping tale of mystery surrounding the rape of an Objiwe woman outside her Minnesota reservation. The story takes place in the 1980s, before laws concerning sovereignty and jurisdiction were changed only recently by the Obama administration, allowing the prosecution of crimes against Native Indians outside their reservations. So the mystery in Round House revolves not only on the who, but the where. The novel is also a coming-of-age tale since it’s POV is told through young Joe, whose mother Geraldine is the victim of the vicious crime. As he and his friends uncover clues about who raped his mother and where the crime actually took place, Joe’s innocence quietly flakes away as he begins to see the world in its totality: his mother’s depression, his father’s powerlessness to protect their family, the injustices and minor cruelties Indians face on and off the reservation. I was captivated from beginning to end. The novel is brimming with subtle insights and quiet, but seething outrage at the wrongs, both minor and major, committed against her people. But there is beauty and love and the resilient power of forgiveness there as well, creating a novel that is as complex as it is simple in its demands for justice.

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