Louise Erdrich

Louise Erdrich would never write again. The National Book Award-winning author was bereft of ideas and exhausted by a tenacious winter virus. She surrendered to sleep, heavy with the certainty that her literary career was over. ‘Hours later, I was jolted awake by some mysterious flow of information,’ Erdrich explains in the afterword of her new novel, The Night Watchman, a glorious rebuke to her fever-addled defeatism. A message beat in her brain: go back to the beginning. ‘I made myself a shaky cup of tea,’ she writes, ‘and then, as I’ve done so many times in my life, I began to read letters written the year I was born, my grandfather’s letters.’

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The Childhood of Jesus by J.M. Coetzee & The Round House by Louise Erdrich

March 2013, no. 349

‘What is chaos?’ asks the unnerving child at the centre of J.M. Coetzee’s new parable-novel, The Childhood of Jesus. ‘I told you the other day,’ replies the child’s guardian. ‘Chaos is when there is no order, no laws to hold on to. Chaos is just things whirling around.’

Louise Erdrich’s The Round House begins with ...