“The Round House,” a National Book Award winner for fiction by Louise Erdrich, is the 2016 One Book, One Community selection. Erdrich is a revered chronicler of Native American life and a former Pulitzer Prize finalist. In "The Round House," she transports readers to an Ojibwe reservation in North Dakota, where a boy on the cusp of manhood seeks justice and understanding in the wake of a brutal, racist attack on his mother. The incident upends and forever transforms his family.
The details of the crime are slow to surface as Geraldine Coutts is traumatized and reluctant to reveal what happened, either to police or to her husband, Bazil, and 13-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 trusted friends 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.
Erdrich has received the Library of Congress Prize in American Fiction, the prestigious PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction, and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. She lives in Minnesota with her daughters and is the owner of Birchbark Books, a small independent bookstore.
The One Book, One Community program encourages Marquette County and the Northern Michigan University community to share the joy of reading and the free exchange of ideas through a common book. Special events and book discussions revolving around this year's selection will be held in the fall.