Book Review: The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich

Looking for your next read? Check out The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich, reviewed by Fulco Library staff, Ellen B.

1953 – Near the Turtle Mountain Reservation – Thomas Wazhashk works as the night watchman at a jewelry factory in rural North Dakota. He is a Chippewa council member and realizes that the latest bill to “emancipate” his tribe members is anything but that. Patrice Paranteau, who also works at the jewelry plant, must navigate her tumultuous life of poverty while avoiding her alcoholic father who reappears to terrorize the family. Patrice’s sister Vera has left home, but is rumored to have had a baby. Patrice makes a long trip to Minnesota to find her sister and learns about the wider world. Wood Mountain is a boxer from the reservation – can he make a career for himself in boxing?

The story centers on Thomas Wazhashk, but all the characters fill in the narrative and create a family of unrelated people who share the same need for freedom and recognition. Louise Erdrich’s writing is sufficiently descriptive to pull the reader in and help us imagine these characters and their difficulties. Even though these Native people struggle, they also succeed in keeping their family together, both biological and unrelated. Erdrich is a member of Chippewa nation herself, so her writing is authentic and realistic.

Check out The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich on Libby, or from your branch's shelves with your library card today!

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