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In counterpoint to all of this normal activity, Joe and Cappy continue to push forward their plan of revenge. But a question arises: If it can be done, will Joe, who insists he must act alone, be able to do it?

In a recent discussion with Jeffrey Brown of “The News Hour” on PBS, the author said the book is an attempt to deal with a serious problem in the Indian culture. “[T]here is a legacy of violence against Native women that has gotten worse and worse over time. And, historically, the underpinnings lie in the complex nature of the land tenure on Native reservations. Each piece of land has a different jurisdictional authority.

“‘The Round House’ is a sacred place on many reservations. There is a kiva, or there is a sweat lodge, round places. The tepee is round. You know, this [is] the circle that depicts the turn of the Earth itself. And to have this violated does speak to the violation of the culture. But what I think happens and what I think the book talks about is also the resilience of the culture.”

It also “talks about” the immense talent of Louise Erdrich.

John Greenya is a Washington-area writer.