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Published: Harper - March 3rd, 2020
Louise Erdrich has done it again—she has written yet another novel that weaves together that magical mix of character, heart, wit, and masterful prose. Like Erdrich’s award-winning The Round House, this new novel speaks to the politics and life of the Chippewa living on a North Dakota Reservation. In fact, Erdrich bases The Night Watchman on her own grandfather and his fight to save Native American land and identity from betrayal by the United States Congress in the 1950s. The explicit political undertones in this novel serve only to deepen the virtuosity and depth of its characters. Intertwining several different storylines and characters, their collective plights for understanding, rescue, love, and triumph, created such a crescendo by the novel’s end that once again, I was in awe of Erdrich’s brilliance. It is hard to capture the totality that The Night Watchman: a love story, a haunting, a mystery, cityscape, country, horror, and humor—it’s all here. All I can say is read it, and you will ever be so glad you did. —S.M.C.