This is a review of:
The Round House by Louise Erdrich
an Adult Mystery Fiction
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.
I feel ridiculous giving this book, a national award winner a 2-star rating. However, I really had so high expectations that weren’t met completely.
Caution: Mild spoilers!
The mystery behind Geraldine’s rape was really the only thing that kept me interested in the book. I expect it to be more focused on the mystery but it had most moments about Joe’s life after the attack with his parents, friends and other people in the town. I did not particularly liked any of the characters or cared for them. I just wanted to get to the bottom of this mystery.
Besides, the title makes you think there’s a huge mystery regarding a round house and what is that round house? what’s its history? Turns out, It did not really matter that much.
What I also did not like was, too much details. I understand there has to be certain steps before it’s logical for a character to do something morally-questionable. In Joe’s case, I did not feel it. Or maybe I did not care about him enough to understand his character better. What he did at the end was familiar to me. I mean I’ve read about such plots so many times on tv, that it wasn’t such a big issue for me when it happened. So, I felt underwhelmed by how it ended.
Generally, maybe I should not have dived into such stories as I am not their intended target mainly. But hoping for better luck with Erdrich’s other books, maybe I’ll find something I’ll like.