I left my writing group yesterday filled with resolve to beef up my blogging–or to at least get back to it. This summer, I’ve been reading a lot, writing a document titled Corona Chronicles (original, huh?), spending as much time with friends and family that these crazy times would allow, and watching the feeding habits of the birds in our backyard. Like you, I’ve had some glad experiences–the birth of a bonus grandchild–and sad ones like the passing of a young relative.
Before I ramble too much, I want to touch on reading, a pastime I see as foundational to writing. Of the books I’ve read this summer, three that have touched my heart, jerked me out of my naiveté, and taught me about Native American life among the Chippewa were written by Louise Erdrich: LaRose, The Round House, and Love Medicine. Last night I finally reviewed The Round House on Amazon and decided to share the review here.
“It’s been three weeks since I finished this novel, but I still remember how the opening grabbed me with its foreshadowing of events to come. It’s a Sunday afternoon on the reservation, and Joe, a young teen, and his father, a tribal judge, realize their mother and wife should be home. After receiving a phone call, she’d gone to meet someone about a file, and it was totally out of character for her to stay away so long without letting Joe or his father know her whereabouts. When the father says they’re going to find her mother, Joe feels encouraged; his father said find, not look for.
“Joe’s hope is short lived. His mother has been brutally attacked and raped and goes into a semi-conscious state, almost catatonic. This act of brutality and the search for the perpetrator is the underlying theme of The Round House. Although the Natives of the community know who attacked Joe’s mother, nothing can be done about the crime because of an antiquated law prohibiting punishment of whites.
“Throughout the novel, an interesting cast of characters enter the scene, my favorites being Joe’s buddies, especially Cappy, Sonja, and a compelling middle-aged woman named Linda Wishkob. Linda was born a twin whose parents, the Larks, were agreeable to letting her languish and die in the hospital. Her life was saved by a Native woman who raised her with her own children. Somehow the reader feels this fact must be important. And it is.
“The novel is suspenseful from the beginning, and the tension continues to build until the last page. There’s money involved—and social injustice, loyalty, friendship, and courage. Does justice prevail? Yes and no. You be the judge.”