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The Round House by Louise Erdrich

The Round House

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One of our Books of the Year 2013.

Hailed in the US as a Native American To Kill A Mockingbird and winner of the 2012 US National Book Award, this is a masterclass in compelling, emotional and magical storytelling. After an horrific rape Joe’s mother shuts herself away and even though his father is a tribal judge he is unable to uncover the culprit. Frustrated, Joe sets our with his best friends to find the truth. This literary mystery, full of stunning language will have a lasting impression on any reader.

October 2013 Book of the Month.

reader reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for The Round House a small number of Lovereading members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title - 'Read this book! The Round House is an incredible, rewarding and emotional whirlwind of a read' - Phyl Smithson. Scroll down to read more reviews.

If you like Louise Erdrich you might also like to read books by Carol Shields, Cormac McCarthy and Annie Proulx.

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The Round House by Louise Erdrich

A mother is brutally raped by a man on their North Dakota reservation where she lives with her husband and thirteen-year-old son, Joe. Traumatized and afraid, she takes to her bed and refuses to talk to anyone - including the police. While her husband, a tribal judge, endeavours to wrest justice from a situation that defies his keenest efforts, young Joe's world shifts on its child's axis. Confused, and nursing a complicated fury, Joe sets out to find answers that might put his mother's attacker behind bars - and make everything right again. Or so he hopes. The Round House is a poignant and abundantly humane story of a young boy pitched prematurely into an unjust adult world. It is a story of vivid survival; and tt confirms Louise Erdrich as one of America's most distinctive contemporary novelists.


We have asked a select number of members and browsers to review The Round House. You can read their reviews below.

Lynn Curtis - 'This is a book that works effortlessly on many different levels, fusing a contemporary American outlook with the timeless spirit-centred beliefs of Native Americans living on a reservation in North Dakota...Loved all the stand-out characters, love this book! It deserved to win America’s NBA.' Click here to read the full review.

Megan Olwen Williams - 'The Round House by Louise Erdrich is a powerful novel that is so deeply affecting it will not be forgotten quickly...It is a magnificent novel that should be read and enjoyed by the masses, each one of its readers will undoubtedly take away something meaningful from this tale.' Click here to read the full review.

Rebecca Kirkby - 'What a beautiful book. The descriptions were gorgeous, the storyline was engaging and I truly cared about the characters.' Click here to read the full review.

Lynda DeFreitas - 'She captures the intricacies and intimacies of family life – the fears and joys, the wants and needs, as Joe tries to right wrongs in an unjust world.' Click here to read the full review.

J B Johnston - 'Louise Erdrich has written a book that lends the reader a glimpse into life on a reservation and the conflict of tribal law versus federal law and the complexities of jurisdiction... A great read!' Click here to read the full review.

Phyl Smithson - 'Read this book! The Round House is an incredible, rewarding and emotional whirlwind of a read...To repeat myself, READ THIS BOOK.' Click here to read the full review.

Kath Martin - 'This is a brilliant book! I read it in two sittings and was captivated from page one...A coming of age tale which is truly remarkable.' Click here to read the full review.

Teresa Majury - 'It can be read on many different levels as, on the surface, it's a coming of age story but look a little deeper and there are insights into the nature of justice, cultural identity and family relationships...You get a glimpse of Native American culture via a cast of vibrant, engaging characters.' Click here to read the full review.

Nicola Cooper - 'There were many different storylines to this book with some interesting characters in the village and the tribe and also a strength of community spirit...Although a bit slow at times, it was an enjoyable read.' Click here to read the full review.

Sue Broom - 'This is by no means a gloomy book. There is an element of mystery, the action is fast paced and keeps the reader engaged...Joe is an appealing narrator...A personality and a story that I’ll not easily forget.' Click here to read the full review.

Glynis Elliott - 'On first starting The Round House I thought, "this is going to be a great read". I have always been fascinated by the Native American culture which is what attracted me in the first place...' Click here to read the full review.

Susan Walsh - 'This is a book for our times. Taking you back to the Native American families & what many families had to endure. Wonderfully touching. Of innocence, family & life. Expertly written, this will touch your soul.

Sarah Tilley - 'It was well written and full of interesting facts about Native Indians, but after a while they began to blur.' Click here to read the full review.

Praise for The Round House:

'The Round House showcases [Erdrich's] extraordinary ability to delineate the ties of love, resentment, need, duty and sympathy that bind families together...[a] powerful novel.' New York Times

'Emotionally compelling...Joe is an incredibly endearing narrator, full of urgency and radiant candor...the story he tells transforms a sad, isolated crime into a revelation about how maturity alters our relationship with our parents, delivering us into new kinds of love and pain.' Washington Post

'The Round House is filled with stunning language that recalls shades of Faulkner, Garcia Marquez and Toni Morrison. Deeply moving, this novel ranks among Erdrich's best work, and it is impossible to forget.' USA Today

'A gripping mystery with a moral twist: revenge might be the harshest punishment, but only for the victims.' Entertainment Weekly

'Erdrich threads a gripping mystery and multilayered portrait of a community through a deeply affecting coming-of-age novel' O, the Oprah Magazine

About the Author

Louise Erdrich

Louise Erdrich is the author of twelve novels as well as volumes of poetry, children's books, and a memoir of early motherhood. Her debut novel, Love Medicine, won the National Book Critics Circle Award. The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her most recent novel, The Plague of Doves was a New York Times bestseller. Louise Erdrich lives in Minnesota with her daughters and is the owner of Birchbark Books, a small independent bookstore.

Author photo © Paul Emmell

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Book Info

Publication date

24th September 2013


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Corsair an imprint of Constable and Robinson


384 pages


Family Drama
Books of the Month
Thriller / Suspense
Literary Fiction
Reading Groups
eBook Favourites
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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