Monday, 20 October 2008

Canadian Fiction

Finished October 18
Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden
This is a wonderful novel revolving around native characters from a community in northern Ontario. The chapters are told from the points of view of Annie, a young native woman, and her uncle Will Bird, who is lying in the hospital in a coma. The chapters alternate between the two viewpoints. Annie has been on an adventure out in the wider world, and has brought back Gordon, a native boy from the city with her. She is teaching Gordon ways of living off the land. She visits her uncle in the hospital every day and begins talking to him on the advice of the nurses, telling him what she has been through over the last little while.
Will's story is told in his own head, but also deals with his secrets over the last little while, the things that led to him being where he is right now. He also talks about past events in the family, some secrets, some not.
The reader learns a lot about the Bird family and their lives up to now. We also see the community and how the people in it relate, the issues and lifestyles. In Annie's side of the story we also see city life and the world of modelling as she experiences it.
A fascinating and very human story, this is also a story of hope. I loved it.

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