The Round House

Well, Anna and Rebecca deserve awards for continue to slog away at Atlas Shrugged–I mean, my God, will that thing ever end? I, meanwhile, continue to read fantasy stories and romance novels and light, fluffy fun things that make no attempt to develop a new political philosophy. But I did just finish a lovely, quality book that I wanted to mention: The Round House by Louise Erdrich.

Erdrich is known for writing very literary novels about the American Indian experience (I’m using Indian, not Native American, since that’s what Erdrich most often does), often with a hint of magical realism. I’ve tried to read some of her work in the past and never really connected with it, but her latest novel won the National Book Award and was described as a mystery–I was intrigued. And I really enjoyed it!

The story, narrated by a teenage Indian boy, centers around a crime that happens on a Chippewa reservation, and how the main character and his family deal with the aftermath and try to figure out who did it. However, the mystery is secondary, in a lot of ways, to the descriptions of life as an Indian teenager. The details–from what the characters are eating to how they speak–are striking and Erdich does an amazing job of getting inside the head of a teenaged boy, who usually feel to me like they are members of an entirely different species. While this book didn’t have the driving, page-turning quality of Gone Girl, I enjoyed the mystery and the characters, and I would recommend this a starting point for Erdich’s work.

Kinsey’s Three Word Review: Haunting, lyrical mystery.

You might also like: Any of Tana French’s mysteries or, if you’d like to read more about life on a reservation, Sherman Alexie.