Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Round House by Louise Erdrich

I have failed you, readers! Accept my apology for holding out on offering up one of my favorite books of the year. I thought I had already written about The Round House, figuring it was hanging out in my book stacks for my partner to read. Ha, how wrong I was!!

I love Louise Edrich's work. She is a brilliant writer for me, and I knew when I got my hands on this book I was in for a treat. But I had no idea how powerful and engulfing this story would be for me. Some of you know that I am well immersed in my own healing work from being sexually assaulted as a child. Some of you know that I am researching with  a handful of survivor/educators, exploring how their teaching practices connect with their experiences of healing from sexual assault. Some of you have inferred from some of the kinds of books I blog about that I search for books that identify healing processes from a variety of trauma experiences. What a gift then to experience how The Round House touched on each of those arenas with such depth. But alas, I must remember: Louise Edrich wrote this book. Brilliant, she is simply brilliant.

A young teen's mother comes home smelling like gas and looking like a ghost. At the hospital, the boy and his father learn that the third member of their family has been brutally raped. She refuses to talk about it, retreating to her bedroom and into her own inner lost world of silence. Utterly tossed off course by what has happened, the father and son use their own curiosity and expertise to search for and try to identify the attacker. Edrich exposes the emotions and healing of the family, the boy and his father far more than the mother, and the way that she tells their story held me quiet and carefully engaged. I lived into how the boy felt about what happened, about his own despair that he can't share with the mother. Readers view this story directly through the boy's eyes, and it is from there that we come to see this story as both a coming-of-age piece as well as an adult novel, heartbreaking and filled with life and survival and death all tied together.

Yea, this terrific read won the National Book Award....and I can see why. 

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