Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Round House by Louise Erdrich: Blog Tour

The Round House by Louise Erdrich
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: October 2nd
Source: Publisher
Rating: I really liked it
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. While his 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 Skinny: A hauntingly emotional tale

I have heard so many wonderful things about The Round House that when this blog tour came around, I was excited to read such a well-respected book. As some of you may know, The Round House was recently selected as a National Book Award Finalist. I am not usually swayed by book awards and often find that my tastes do not coincide with the tastes of esteemed literary judges, however, I know exactly why The Round House has received such praise: It is terrific.

The characters in this story are so realistically portrayed that it is easy to imagine their responses in reality. We follow Joe as he attempts to process his emotions and thoughts after his mother, Geraldine,  is viciously raped. I was pulled into the story and his mother’s plight so much that I found myself wanting to push away what I was reading because it felt too real, and I did not want to feel that sad or afraid. Joe’s eagerness to help his mom and investigate the crime kept me in suspense, while his mother’s self-isolation caused a sense of hopelessness to settle within me. Erdrich wrote Geraldine in a powerful and highly emotive way, and it is impossible not to experience her pain right along with her.

Erdrich has such a unique writing style. I reread several passages and was stunned at how she chose to describe certain feelings and thoughts. In many books, authors employ stock descriptions and generic phrases to convey ideas. In The Round House, there is not a single phrase that I have read or heard before. Everything is unique, and Erdrich made the English language her own.

I highly recommend The Round House. On the surface, the story is about a trauma, but as the story progresses, it becomes clear that it is about how much people will do to help those they love. From the beginning chapters to the very last page, I was captivated. I did not finish the book with a happy glow, and I am unsettled with the ending, but I understand that the story documents the journeys of these characters and how they develop as a result of trauma.

Be sure to check out the other blogs participating in the blog tour!

Monday, October 22nd: Unabridged Chick
Wednesday, October 24th: Oh! Paper Pages
Monday, October 29th: West Metro Mommy
Tuesday, October 30th: The Betty and Boo Chronicles
Thursday, November 1st: The Feminist Texican [Reads]
Tuesday, November 6th: Conceptual Reception
Wednesday, November 7th: Sweet Tidbits
Thursday, November 8th: Olduvai Reads
Tuesday, November 13th: In the Next Room
Monday, November 26th: Lisa’s Yarns
Tuesday, December 4th: Book Dilettante
Wednesday, December 5th: Books, Thoughts and a Few Adventures
Thursday, December 6th: Veronica MD
Tuesday, December 11th: Book Chatter
Wednesday, December 12th: Peppermint PhD
Thursday, December 13th: Broken Teepee
Friday, December 14th: Seaside Book Corner
Monday, December 17th: World’s Strongest Librarian
Louise Erdrich is the author of thirteen novels as well as volumes of poetry, short stories, children’s books, and a memoir of early motherhood. Her 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. Most recently,The Plague of Doves won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Louise Erdrich lives in Minnesota and is the owner of Birchbark Books, an independent bookstore.



  1. "Everything is unique, and Erdrich made the English language her own." I now want to read this book simply because of that statement!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour. I'm featuring your review on TLC's Facebook page today.

  2. I was drawn in by this compelling story. Beautifully written, unfolding with grace and subtly. Please Enjoy this great read.