The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich
My wife, Jody, and I finished reading Louise Erdrich’s The Night Watchman recently. So much has been spoken and written about this book; it would be silly to attempt any kind of a review. I gave it five stars. Several things make this event notable, though, and I thought them worth sharing.
- Jody and I read simultaneously. (I should say Jody read it and I listened to most of it as an Audible audiobook. More about that later.) We’ve often read the same book, the readings sometimes separated by only a few weeks, but this is the first time that we ever read the same book at the same time.
- We read this book so that we could participate in WNYC’s “Get Lit” program, hosted by Alison Stewart. According to the WNYC’s website, “Get Lit” is “a monthly on-air, social media, and live stream book club.” WNYC partners with the New York Public Library to make a number of ebook copies available to New York residents. On 2 December we watched the live discussion between Alison Stewart and Louise Erdrich. That discussion is available for streaming on the “Get Lit” webpage. Ms. Stewart was, of course, prepared with excellent questions, and she also read questions that had been submitted by readers. Ms. Erdrich is a pleasure to listen to.
- The Audible version of The Night Watchman, read by Louise Erdrich herself, was made available by Overdrive, a free source for ebooks and audiobooks that can be accessed using my public-library card. Having finally joined the mature twenty-first century (the part of the century with smart phones), I use the Overdrive app to listen while I walked at lunch time. This is the first time I’ve listed to an audio book, Audible or otherwise. While I still greatly prefer reading ink on paper, and I will also read ebooks, I was pleasantly surprised by the audiobook experience. Having a free source such as Overdrive is a great alternative when the local library consortium doesn’t have the print version of a book.
- This year many of us who are white have spent a lot of time and energy trying to come to terms with racism, white privilege, and white supremacy. The Night Watchman reveals another chapter in the story of white supremacy. We whites of European descent have abused our power and privilege in an attempt to wipe Indigenous culture, if not Indigenous people themselves, from North America.
If you are looking for some serious reading or listening for the long winter nights ahead, find a copy of The Night Watchman to listen to or read.
Thanks for stopping by.