What happens when a heinous crime is committed but a matter of geography means nobody has the authority to prosecute? Joe Coutts is 13 years old, a resident of the North Dakota Ojibwe Reservation. His father is a judge and his mother is the tribal enrollment officer.
When his mother is beaten and raped, the family must deal with their own emotions and relationships, and also a legal system that is full of holes when it comes to protecting Native Americans.
There are some raw emotions in this powerfully told story. The characters are real and layered. Erdrich does not go for an easy feel-good resolution. Though political issues help drive the plot, it's not preachy.