Community Read


Round House

by Louise Erdrich


BOOK DESCRIPTION: One Sunday in the spring of 1988, a woman living on a reservation in North Dakota is attacked. The details of the crime are slow to surface because Geraldine Coutts is traumatized and reluctant to relive or reveal what happened, either to the police or to her husband, Bazil, and thirteen-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, 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 his trusted friends, Cappy, Zack, and Angus, 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.




Sept. 24 – Oct. 9, NMU Olson Library
Native Treaties, Shared Rights Exhibit
A traveling exhibit from the Clarke Historical Library at Central Michigan University highlighting: what a treaty is and how treaties have been applied regarding land, education, and hunting and fishing rights.
Sept. 25, 6 p.m., NMU Whitman Hall Commons (tentative location)
Finding Dawn Documentary about Canada’s Highway of Tears. NMU Whitman Commons. Introduction by April Lindala, director of NMU Center for Native American Studies. (UNITED Conference event.)
Sept. 26, 1 p.m., NMU University Center Great Lakes Rooms

Panel presentation on The Round House. With featured speakers NMU English professors:

  • Amy Hamilton
  • Patricia Killelea
  • Lynn Domina (English Department head)

(UNITED Conference event.)

Sept. 26, 2 -  p.m., Artist Reception, NMU DeVos Art Museum
Exhibition runs Sept. 26 – Dec. 9

Elizabeth Doxtater: Art of Peace Exhibit

The Six Nations (Mohawk) artist explores the ancient form of cornhusk dolls to preserve traditional culture and histories while inviting viewers to consider their role in creating peace in the world. (DeVos Art Museum event.)

Sept. 29, 7 p.m, NMU Olson Library, main level
  • Interview of Louise Erdrich by Bill Moyers (taped)
  • Presentation: Crossing the Line or Not: Hazardous Intersections of Tribal and Non-Tribal Law, by Matthew Fletcher, Professor of Law at Michigan State University and Director of the Indigenous Law and Policy Center
  • Self-guided tour through the Native Treaties, Shared Rights traveling exhibit.
Oct. 4, 7 p.m., Peter White Public Library
Community book discussion. Hosted by Peter White Public Library and Snowbound Books.
October 19, 7 p.m., Marquette Regional History Center
Panel Discussion: Women, Violence and Revenge. Plus free-will admission to the center’s exhibit gallery.

Learn about legal jurisdiction, the Violence Against Women Act, concepts of revenge and how adolescents deal with tragedy.  Featuring:

  • Anthony Carrick, Chocolay Township police officer (and of Native American heritage)
  • Grace Challier, professor in NMU Center for Native American Studies (Rosebud Sioux)
  • Violet Friisvall-Ayres, Associate Judge at Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (Keweenaw Bay Indian Community)
  • A representative from the Marquette Women's Center 
November 2, 7-8:30 p.m., NMU Olson Library, room 311
Student and community book discussion, led by Shirley Brozzo, NMU Multicultural Education and Resource Center director.
November 15, 7 p.m., NMU Whitman Hall Commons
Smoke Signals film. Based on the book by Sherman Alexie. "Smoke Signals is a humorous yet serious story about Victor, a young man who Director Chris Eyre describes as 'trying to forgive his father.' The movie gives us a glimpse into the contemporary Native American world..." (IMDb). Followed by a discussion led by Shirley Brozzo, NMU Multicultural Education and Resource Center director.


For more information on the program, please go to




Staff Pick Logo
The Round House Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062065254
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - September 24th, 2013

Erdrich’s latest is a stunning chronicle of one devastating summer that forever divides a young man's life into Before and After. It's heartbreaking, but not in the way you'd expect. The catalyst of events is a brutal attack on a Reservation woman. This is awful, but what really affected me was her son Joe’s struggle to process the change in his mother, and solve the mystery in order to bring her peace.   

             Erdrich’s mastery of the written word is obvious in her perceptive and compassionate portrayal of our teenage hero. She adroitly tackles huge concepts like racism, vengeance, puberty and friendship and balances Joe’s journey with funny (often hilarious) visits to neighboring friends and family, many of whom you’ll recognize from Plague of Doves. And if you haven’t read Plague yet, well, that’s just one more treat to look forward to, as is her newest novel, La Rose, coming out mid-May. ~ Dana