Louise Erdrich is a revered novelist who has “remained true to her Native ancestors’ mythic and artistic visions while writing fiction that candidly explores the cultural issues facing modern-day Native Americans and mixed heritage Americans” (The Poetry Foundation).
Erdrich’s new novel The Night Watchman is inspired by the extraordinary life of her grandfather. Thomas Wazhaszk, a factory night watchman in rural North Dakota, is a Chippewa Council member trying to understand the consequences of a new “emancipation” bill on its way to Congress. It is 1953, and he and the other council members know the bill isn’t about freedom—it is a “termination” that threatens the rights of Native Americans to their land. Erdrich creates a fictional world populated with memorable characters forced to grapple with the worst and best impulses of human nature, and illuminates their loves and lives, desires and ambitions with compassion, wit, and intelligence.
Erdrich is the author of The Round House, winner of the National Book Award for fiction; this “powerful novel” showcases her “extraordinary ability to delineate the ties of love, resentment, need, duty, and sympathy that bind families together” (The New York Times), with “stunning language that recalls shades of Faulkner, García Márquez, and Toni Morrison” (USA Today). Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award twice for Love Medicine and LaRose, she has also been awarded the Library of Congress Prize in American Fiction.