The Sentence: Pulitzer Prize Winning author of The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich – Our Review


Our Review…

Louise Erdich’s novels always pack a big punch and The Sentence is no exception.

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize last year for The Night Watchman – based on the true story of her grandfather, who worked as a night watchman and carried the fight against Native dispossession from rural North Dakota all the way to Washington, D.C, her new novel is firmly rooted in present day.

The novel centres around the story of the rough and tumble Tookie, who has run foul of the law and been sentenced to a prison term of 60 years. Tookie knows she can’t survive this term and so escapes into the world of books, where she reads every book in the prison library ‘with murderous attention’. This inadvertently earns her an early pardon for good behaviour.

Upon release she is gruff and hard after her time inside, declaring herself an ‘ugly woman.’ So with little life skills, she applies for a position in a bookshop, finding like-minded souls amongst the staff and patrons, including a resident ghost. From here this highly unusual yet totally compelling novel with it’s wide range of vibrant characters meets head on the fallout of the George Floyd riots, ‘Our country crept along beneath a pall of sorrow… there was a continual hum of panic.” To the grief and isolation of the COVID pandemic and much more.

The Sentence is an extraordinary novel, one that by turns delights and makes you laugh and then clamps you in it’s grip and shakes you to your core. Totally compelling, a fabulous read.

Review by Nicole @ Great Escape Books