At the start of The Round House, thirteen-year-old Joe’s mother, Geraldine, is brutally attacked and nearly killed. Afterward, she shuts herself in her room, barely eating and refusing to talk about what happened. The police investigation goes nowhere, in large part due to jurisdictional road blocks — without proof of whether she was attacked on federal or reservation land, the authorities are unwilling to press further for answers. Haunted by his mother’s silence, Joe sets out to get justice the only way he knows how.
“I had to do what I had to do. This act was before me. In the uncanny light a sense of dread so overwhelmed me that tears started in my eyes and a single choking sound, a sob maybe, a wrench of hurt, burst from my chest. […] I didn’t want to give a voice to this roil of sensation. But I was naked and tiny before its power. I had no choice. I muffled the sounds I made so that I alone would hear them come out of me, gross and foreign. I lay on the floor, let fear cover me, and I tried to keep breathing while it shook me like a dog shakes a rat.”
Louise Erdrich has written books for children, poetry, non-fiction, and thirteen novels, including The Round House and Shadow Tag. She lives in Minnesota and owns an independent bookstore, Birchbark Books.
Length: 314 pages
Set in: North Dakota, United States
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