The novel The Round House is a political fictional novel that begins on the spring of 1988 in a reservation camp in North Dakota. A woman, Geraldine, has just been attacked and raped. She slips into silence and hence, the details of her experience remains within her, not even the police, her husband Bazil and Son Joe. The incident changes Joe’s world completely to such an extent that he becomes frustrated, and his closely knit family is torn in the middle. This is worsened by the fact that his mother cannot leave her room completely. His father goes on to seek justice by the best means but does not seem to achieve much even if he is a judge himself. It is at this point when Joe decides to take matters into his hands in an effort to get back his once very happy family. His friends Zack, Cappy and Angus, start a journey to seek answers to his troubled life.
For a moment, Joe suspects a local priest and this leads Joe and his friends to spy on him. In fact, this is one memorable part of the story. In their endeavor to unravel the truth, the boys brave the kitchen of Grandma Thunder who shocked them so much so. These boys seem unshakable and for this reason are determined to go to great lengths to get to the bottom of their investigation. In as much as Joe is troubled about her mother’s condition, he goes on to get assistance from Sonja, a former stripper who takes up a mother’s role of feeding him even in the middle of his dangerous navigation in pursuit of the man who ill treated his mother. His relationship with Sonja pens a new chapter of his life, he now more than ever knows the meaning of desire and how it can lead to rage and selfishness.
Their focus becomes shifted to another person, a former postal worker who is called Linden Lark. They see him as a real incarnation of the devil and hence, the chief suspect. This is so because he clearly hates Indians, something he often said. The young boys look for all kinds of evidence that pointed to Linden. Linden is put in police custody and Joe’s mother finally leaves her room, and investigations continue but he is later on set free because he is white and because the crime took place on reservation land. This misrepresentation of the law puts the law on the wrong side of all wrong doing because a criminal is set free without looking at the weight of the crime they committed considering the fact that there is an injured party in question.
Joe together with his friend Cappy hatches a plan to shoot Lark one morning when he is out golfing. This makes Joe go about practicing shooting using a riffle. And the day comes when Lark is out golfing, and no one is on site. Joe goes on to shoot at him, he does so twice; Cappy joins in and they finally kill Lark. They try so much to hide all traces of evidence by hiding the gun they use. But then Joe gets nightmares about the incident, and this drives him to become alcoholic. They then decide to go to Montana where Cappy’s girlfriend resides. The four boys get involved in a road accident where Angus and Zack are injured whereas Cappy gets killed. One reviewer says that, at the end of the day, Joe paid a high price for his deeds (Washburn 110).
Erdrich, Louise. The Round House. New York: Harper Collins. 2012.
Washburn, Franci. Tracks On a Page: Louise Erdrich, Her Life and Works. Santa Barbara. ABC- CLIO