THE ROUND HOUSE by Louise Erdrich
"One Sunday in the
spring of 1988, a woman living on a reservation in North Dakota is
attacked. The details of the crime are slow to surface as Geraldine
Coutts is traumatized and reluctant to relive or reveal what happened,
either to the police or to her husband, Bazil, and thirteen-year-old
son, Joe. In one day, Joe's life is irrevocably transformed. He tries to
heal his mother, but she will not leave her bed and slips into an abyss
of solitude. Increasingly alone, Joe finds himself thrust prematurely
into an adult world for which he is ill prepared.
father, who is a tribal judge, endeavors to wrest justice from a
situation that defies his efforts, Joe becomes frustrated with the
official investigation and sets out with his trusted friends, Cappy,
Zack, and Angus, to get some answers of his own. Their quest takes them
first to the Round House, a sacred space and place of worship for the
Ojibwe. And this is only the beginning."
The Round House is a coming-of-age story, a mystery, and a novel of family, history, and culture. Included in the afterword is the terrible statistic that “1 in 3 Native women will be raped
in her lifetime (and that figure is certainly higher as Native women
often do not report rape); 86% of rapes and sexual assaults upon Native
women are perpetrated by non-Native men.” Life on the reservation has other challenges such as alcoholism and injustice that affect the daily lives of Native Americans and Erdrich is adept at conveying the Native culture and reservation life.