THE WASHINGTON POST, NPR, CBS SUNDAY MORNING, KIRKUS, CHICAGO PUBLIC LIBRARY, AND GOOD HOUSEKEEPING BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
Based on the extraordinary life of National Book Award-winning author Louise Erdrich’s grandfather who worked as a night watchman and carried the fight against Native dispossession from rural North Dakota all the way to Washington, D.C., this powerful novel explores themes of love and death with lightness and gravity and unfolds with the elegant prose, sly humor, and depth of feeling of a master craftsman.
Thomas Wazhashk is the night watchman at the jewel bearing plant, the first factory located near the Turtle Mountain Reservation in rural North Dakota. He is also a Chippewa Council member who is trying to understand the consequences of a new “emancipation” bill on its way to the floor of the United States Congress. It is 1953 and he and the other council members know the bill isn’t about freedom; Congress is fed up with Indians. The bill is a “termination” that threatens the rights of Native Americans to their land and their very identity. How can the government abandon treaties made in good faith with Native Americans “for as long as the grasses shall grow, and the rivers run”?
Since graduating high school, Pixie Paranteau has insisted that everyone call her Patrice. Unlike most of the girls on the reservation, Patrice, the class valedictorian, has no desire to wear herself down with a husband and kids. She makes jewel bearings at the plant, a job that barely pays her enough to support her mother and brother. Patrice’s shameful alcoholic father returns home sporadically to terrorize his wife and children and bully her for money. But Patrice needs every penny to follow her beloved older sister, Vera, who moved to the big city of Minneapolis. Vera may have disappeared; she hasn’t been in touch in months, and is rumored to have had a baby. Determined to find Vera and her child, Patrice makes a fateful trip to Minnesota that introduces her to unexpected forms of exploitation and violence, and endangers her life.
Thomas and Patrice live in this impoverished reservation community along with young Chippewa boxer Wood Mountain and his mother Juggie Blue, her niece and Patrice’s best friend Valentine, and Stack Barnes, the white high school math teacher and boxing coach who is hopelessly in love with Patrice.
In the Night Watchman, Louise Erdrich creates a fictional world populated with memorable characters who are forced to grapple with the worst and best impulses of human nature. Illuminating the loves and lives, the desires and ambitions of these characters with compassion, wit, and intelligence, The Night Watchman is a majestic work of fiction from this revered cultural treasure.
Erdrich is one of the greatest living American writers ― the Guardian
Louise Erdrich is my favourite writer and her latest, The Night Watchman, is my favourite Erdrich novel, so how could this not be a cause for celebration? . . . No one is better than Erdrich at creating an entire world and all the people who live there, past, present and future. ― Ann Patchett, Evening Standard: 'The best books of 2020'
This book feels particularly special, taking those elements that we expect from Erdrich - beautiful prose, exquisite depiction of the natural world, powerful emotion - and building them into something exceptional. If you haven't read her before, The Night Watchman is a superb introduction to the work of one of America's most important living novelists. ― The Spectator
Erdrich [offers] the reader the gifts of love and richness that only a deeply connected writer can provide. You never doubt these are her people . . . For 450 pages, we are grateful to be allowed into this world . . . I walked away from the Turtle Mountain clan feeling deeply moved, missing these characters as if they were real people known to me. In this era of modern termination assailing us, the book feels like a call to arms. A call to humanity. ― New York Times
Erdrich describes the Turtle Mountain Reservation in North Dakota in rich detail and illustrates the lengths that some will go to protect the ones they care for. ― TIME
Erdrich orchestrates a rich community tale ― BBC.co.uk, 'Books to Read in 2020'
[The Night Watchman is] Erdrich´s stunning new novel . . . Thomas Washushk, the character who lovingly hops off the page, is based on Erdrich´s own grandfather . . . Erdrich weaves the stories of other beautifully crafted characters against the backdrop of an impoverished reservation . . . The connection between Erdrich´s characters and the natural world is unbreakable, and some of her most evocative passages are dedicated to this relationship . . . Erdrich has chosen a story that is near to her heart, and it shines through on every page. ― Daily Mail
Erdrich's restless eye captures movements and years of the North Dakota reservation's hardscrabble life and rich traditions . . . A beguiling storyteller ― Mail on Sunday, 'Best New Fiction'
A moving account of people trying to cling on to their identity in a hostile world. ― The Times
A knowing, loving evocation of people trying to survive with their personalities and traditions intact. ― Kirkus Starred Review
A work of distinct luminosity . . . Erdrich traces the indelible traumas of racism and sexual violence and celebrates the vitality and depth of Chippewa life . . . Bestselling and much-honored Erdrich is at her radiant best in this dramatic tale ― Booklist starred review
Erdrich's inspired portrait of her own tribe's resilient heritage masterfully encompasses an array of characters and historical events. Erdrich remains an essential voice. ― Publishers Weekly
Publisher : Corsair (4 March 2021)
Language : English
Paperback : 464 pages
ISBN-10 : 147215536X
ISBN-13 : 978-1472155368
Item Weight : 350 g
Dimensions : 12.6 x 3.4 x 19.6 cm
Country of Origin : United Kingdom
Customer Reviews: 4.4 4.4 out of 5 stars 18,407 ratings