Unforgettable, brilliantly written, horrific, hilarious, deeply moving, educational, sad, heart warming and hopeful, The Round House is my favorite book of this year.
Erdrich creates characters that become so real to me that I know them like long lost friends. And there are a lot of characters -- each different and each wholly developed. Sometimes the story meanders but the characters are still there to delight.
It is a very difficult story to take about a 13 year old Ojibwe boy whose mother is brutally raped. His father is a judge and tries to get justice for his beloved wife, himself, and his son but is handicapped by the conflicting laws -- federal, state, and tribal. The boy is the narrator and so we absorb the story from his point of view. Thankfully it is interspersed with lighter, sometimes genuinely hilarious moments about a grandfather and a grandmother and the lameness of being a young teenage boy -- I laughed out loud twice. It also has history and interpretation of Indian law, mythology, and magic realism.
The Round House is reminiscent of To Kill A Mockingbird in its portrayal of family love and in the quality of writing. It is probably the best written book I've read in years. I highly recommend it!