121 pages 4 hours read

Louise Erdrich

The Night Watchman

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2020

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Before You Read

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Super Short Summary

The Night Watchman follows Thomas Wazhashk, the night watchman and tribal chairman of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, as he rallies his community to fight against House Concurrent Resolution 108, a bill that threatens their tribal sovereignty. Parallelly, Patrice Paranteau, who works at the local plant, travels to Minneapolis to find her missing sister Vera and faces significant hardships, including being coerced into a degrading job. The story is set against the backdrop of the 1950s reservation life, shedding light on the strength and resilience of the Turtle Mountain community as they face personal and political challenges. Contains sensitive topics such as alcoholism and kidnapping.

Reviews & Readership

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Review Roundup

Louise Erdrich's The Night Watchman is lauded for its rich historical detail and deep character development, vividly portraying the Native American struggle. However, some find the pacing slow and the narrative occasionally fragmented. Overall, it is praised for its emotional depth and cultural authenticity, solidifying Erdrich's place as a significant literary voice.

Who should read this

Who Should Read The Night Watchman?

A reader who would enjoy The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich appreciates poignant, character-driven narratives and cultural heritage. Fans of Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and Alice Walker’s The Color Purple will admire its rich storytelling and exploration of Native American identity and perseverance.

RecommendedReading Age


Book Details


Historical Fiction

Auto/Biographical Fiction

American Literature


History: U.S.

Grief / Death

Love / Sexuality


Emotions/Behavior: Grief

Natural World: Appearance & Reality

Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies