Once again Louise Erdrich writes about her Native American heritage, this time focusing on the life of her grandfather. Thomas Wazhushk is a night watchman, a farmer and an active member of the Chippewa Council in North Dakota. When the people who live and work on The Turtle Mountain Reservation learn that a Mormon congressman has introduced a bill that will terminate their land and their identity, they know they must fight this bill. Interwoven into Thomas’s tale, Erdrich tells the story of Patrice Paranteau. Patrice is also a Chippewa. She works at the factory where Thomas is a night watchman and is the sole support for her mother and younger brother. Patrice has an older sister who has disappeared, so she has to take time off work, travel to Minneapolis and search for her.
The Night Watchman is very good. It illustrates a small slice of American history with well-defined, complex characters. However, I did feel it ended abruptly, and all the loose ends were tied together too quickly.