The Round House

by Louise Erdrich

A friend gave me her ARC of the book, which I added to my stack + the book won the 2012 National Book Award for Fiction + I wanted a big, thick novel to fall into for the holiday weekend = How I chose this book

As I reached for the book off the top of my shelf, I felt some resistance. I hate to admit it, but I didn’t love Love Medicine. I read it three times and admire so many things about it, but I didn’t really enjoy reading it.

However, halfway through The Round House, I am enjoying it.

And here are some reasons for you to read it (no spoilers):

1-This passage from page 23 for its ability to do so much through dialogue:

Mom … the milk was sour.

She lowered her arm and sat up.


She had never let the milk go sour in the refrigerator before. She had grown up without refrigeration and was proud of how clean she kept her treasured icebox. She took the freshness of its contents seriously. She’d bought Tupperware even, at a party. The milk was sour?

Yes, I said. It was.

We have to go to the grocery!

Her serene reserve was gone–a nervous horror welled across her face. The bruises had come out and her eyes were darkly rimmed like a raccoon’s. A sick green pulsed around her temples. Her jaw was indigo. Her eyebrows had always been so expressive of irony and love, but now were held tight by anguish. Two vertical lines, black as if drawn by a marker, creased her forehead. Her fingers plucked at the quilt’s edge. Sour!

They have milk now at Whitey’s gas station. I can bike down there, Mom.

They do? She looked at me as though I’d saved her, like a hero.

2-These sentences on page 45 for their lyricism:

With all that we did, we were trying to coax the soul back into her. But I could feel it tug away from us like a kite on a string. I was afraid that string would break and she’d careen off, vanish into the dark.

3-This sentence on page 110 for its humor and its ability to use plain words in a new and unusual way:

My father could out-weather anybody.

4-The story.

5-And as I mentioned, it won the 2012 National Book Award for Fiction.