Title: The Round House by Louise Erdrich
Published October 2, 2012; Harper Collins
Winner of the National Book Award for Fiction
I saw this as part coming of age story, part mystery, part political novel - a novel set in 1988 on a Native American reservation in North Dakota that addresses the "tangle of laws that hinder prosecution of rape cases on many reservations." Problems are still being straightened out even after the Tribal Law and Order Act was signed in 2010 by presidential act to help remedy the situation.Joe, he said carefully. I should have told you I am proud of you. I am proud of how you love your mother. Proud of how you figured this out. But you do understand that if something should happen to you, Joe, that your mother and I would...we couldn't bear it. You give us life... (ch. 5, from an advance reader's edition. The final copy may differ)
Thirteen-year-old Joe, son of a reservation judge, decides to take matters into his own hands when the man who seriously attacked and brutalized his mother is let go, not prosecuted since it could not be proven exactly where the attack took place - on reservation land, state land, or fee land (land belonging to a tribe outside of the reservation).
The story involves the histories of several persons living on and off the reservation. These histories converge and create a situation that resulted in the attack on Joe's mother, who worked on the reservation and had access to a file crucial to the story.
Though they may seem superfluous to the story, many of the Native American traditional tales included in the novel show what helped form and shape Joe and his young Indian friends. The tales throw additional light on the customs and traditions of the Native Americans on the reservation.
The Round House won the National Book Award for Fiction for 2012, a well deserved recognition.
Louise Erdrich is the author of thirteen novels, plus volumes of poetry, short stories, children’s books, and a memoir of early motherhood. Award winners, Love Medicine, The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse, and The Plague of Doves are among them.
Erdrich, a Native American member of the Ojibwe and Chippewa nation is described as one of the most significant Native writers of the second wave of the "Native American Renaissance." She lives in Minnesota and is the owner of Birchbark Books, an independent bookstore.
For more reviews, visit the tour schedule. Thanks to TLC Book Tours and the author/publisher for a review ARC of the novel.