Friday, April 5, 2013

Joan's Pick of the Week

I read a lot of books, over 100 a year. and  I only read what I enjoy.  If, after a few pages, the book does not grab me, I toss it aside.  But every once in a while I come across a real masterpiece such as Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, Jerusalem by Guy DeLisle,  Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood and Any Human Heart by William Boyd. And this week, The Round House by Louise Erdrich.

The Round House is set in an Anishinabe reserve in the Dakotas.  A woman is raped and the tribal police can do nothing because they have no authority to arrest a non Indian on tribal land.  The rapist walks free.  But, Joe, the woman's thirteen year old son, decides to seek revenge. The novel moves slowly but inexorably to a stunning climax.

The publication of this novel ramped up the long running campaign to change the law which allows criminals to come into the reserve lands and commit crimes including rape with impunity. It is unbelievable but this situation  has gone on for a long time.  Louise Erdrich, in a letter to the New York Times, asked the US Congress to make the necessary changes and, happily,last month,  this was done.  Thus the power of the word.

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