I think this one is my favourite, but probably because it was the first one I read; just happened to pick it up in a bargain bin in London Drugs! FromI think this one is my favourite, but probably because it was the first one I read; just happened to pick it up in a bargain bin in London Drugs! From conversations I've had it seems like most people find their first Leaphorn/Chee book is their favourite. Interesting. I particularly liked it because it also involved archaeology. I first read it in 2003 and last read it in 2006; I also have the movie Robert Redford produced (or directed? or both?)...more
This book is the life of author, Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, the sequel to "Fatty Legs" by the same authors. It is also the life of Canada's shame, the story of how the government took the children away from all aboriginal nations and sent them to Catholic residential schools. "A Stranger at Home" tells the true story of Margaret's return to her parents in Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories and how she was snubbed by family, friends, and townspeople. I have not read "Fatty Legs", but must because it will take me into her years in school.
The boat bringing home the children is arriving in Tuktoyaktuk, or Tuk as they call it. Parents and siblings are waiting for the arrival, but when Margaret approaches her mother, she says "Not my daughter!" Margaret's hair has been cut, she is in clothing supplied by the school, and all tradition is gone. She can not even remember how to speak her language, Invialuktun. She is unable to understand her mother and her mother does not understand her. Her siblings look at Margaret as though she were an alien. She is now an "outsider" and is devastated. The book is well named because Margaret is indeed "a stranger at home". Her father does speak English, fortunately, and he is her only strength.
Margaret can no longer eat the food her mother prepares. She can't eat and loses weight. Even the food at the Hudson Bay store doesn't appeal to her. She is horrified when the family eats without saying grace, and is terrified that her family will go to Hell. This is what she has been taught, and that it is her responsibility to convert her family. Margaret's best friend Agnes can no longer play with or see her, because she only knows English. Agnes kept her language by telling herself stories in her mind and occasionally naming things in her room, but she is punished when she is caught. Margaret's only happiness is playing with the dogs and reading. She particularly likes "Gulliver's Travels", relating to it in a way.
Through her father's attention and help, and her mother trying to find communication, Margaret finally finds a way to be a part of her family again. She is once again Olemaun Pokiak, her Inuvialuit, or Inuit name. She is able to eat the food her mother prepares. She remembers how to skin caribou, and she is able to drive a team and sled. But still she misses her home on Banks Island where she was so happy growing up. Tuktoyaktuk still seems like a stopover, and soon it will prove to be just that when the government people come and tell them that the children must go to the school, and that includes Margaret's siblings.
This is a book everyone should read. It is written for school-age, but I feel it should be read and explained by adults who can remember this time, or who understand this time, so the children and young adults will understand what happened, how it affected the families, and how so many languages almost went extinct.
Kudos to those who have worked hard to restore the languages, beliefs and teach their children of the old ways. That is not the whole story, though. Through the efforts of people like Margaret, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the aboriginal renewal has been underway for the past several years and now many languages have been retrieved and spoken, old customs have been returned, although now updated....more
The rain forest on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington can hide a lot. But can it hide a prehistoric tribe? So it would seem in this latest round of GThe rain forest on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington can hide a lot. But can it hide a prehistoric tribe? So it would seem in this latest round of Gideon Oliver's adventures, along with his wife Julie. They make a great team, and add John Lau to the mix you get entertainment....more
As stated on the book cover, this is "An ancient feud, a modern love triangle," and "a twisted plot for revenge." I don't normally mention what is wriAs stated on the book cover, this is "An ancient feud, a modern love triangle," and "a twisted plot for revenge." I don't normally mention what is written on the cover, but this description is right on the mark. This is the first book in a series of archaeological thrillers. Unfortunately, I read the third book first, so I will have to shift my mind backward in time to review this one. Here, our characters are introduced and most definitely well-fleshed out. Book one is set in the San Juan Islands, a group of West Coast islands on the US/Canada border.
Deborah Cannon plots this series around the historical myths of the several nations of the West Coast, from Alaska to Oregon, but particularly the historical myths and legends of the Haida of the Queen Charlotte Islands of British Columbia. As an aside, these islands have been officially renamed Haida Gwaii as of December 2009, after this book was written. At the time of writing the books, the islands were known as both the Queen Charlottes and Haida Gwaii, causing some confusion geographically. Why is this important to us, the readers? Because the protagonist of these books is half-Haida, so the islands are important to the story.
Deborah has a special knack of weaving suspense, murder and mystery into the ancient myths and legends of the Raven. I was hooked in the Prologue! Her writing grips the imagination, and keeps the suspense at high level all the while weaving romance, anthropology and archaeology, and history into the mix. I would be remiss if I didn't mention a deadly rivalry between two men part-Haida, who have directed their lives in opposing directions with the exception of searching the myth of Eagle and Raven. These two men are the arch-rivals of this reading journey. Both are totally invested in their goals.
Discovery of a cave with petroglyphs on a small island is the main centre of activity in this book, with a nearby "wet" site where a Raven rattle of indeterminately ancient age is discovered where it should not be. Immediately, the rich and powerful Clifford Radisson wants to buy up all the land and turn it into a theme par, while the dedicated but poor archaeologist Jake Lalonde fights to preserve it. Even though there are some petroglyphs that are obviously faked, he sees much more. Radisson will stop at nothing from trying to take away Jake's girlfriend to burying the opening to the cave in rubble while Jake and Angeline are in there. Will they be able to escape? Well, obviously since there are more adventures to come, but how will they manage it? In trying to find a way out, they stumble on a very important find they are able to keep secret, and Angeline's escape brings help but not before more of Radisson's dirty tricks. Does Radisson accomplish all the feats by himself. Hah! No way! Why should he get his hands dirty, he has too much to lose, but with all his money he can buy anything or anyone. Which will win this rivalry, theme park or heritage site? Many surprises are in store in this book which will keep your attention from wavering. Strong, suspenseful, action-packed thriller, an excellent entry into the series, and I know having read the third book it just gets better!...more
Anyone who has heard the haunting sound of a whale's song will never forget it. So it is with this story, mystical, honest, haunting and wonderful. SoAnyone who has heard the haunting sound of a whale's song will never forget it. So it is with this story, mystical, honest, haunting and wonderful. So emotional in fact, that I am writing this review while my eyes are still damp with tears. Tears of joy, tears of sorrow, and a great feeling of enlightenment and belonging. The rich blend of lifestyles from the prairies of Wyoming to Vancouver Island's rugged west coast in British Columbia, both very remote, brings together a family who have never seen an ocean to the very shores in their new home, and a traditional indian family whose roots go back many hundreds of years. The area around Bamfield is largely populated by the Huu-ay-aht Tribe and the warmth of the people represented in this novel is passed on to us in a way that feels personal. Cheryl Kaye Tardif, you moved me. I read this straight through without setting it down once.
The story begins with Sarah, an eleven year old girl, learning that her marine-biologist father has been offered an opportunity he can't refuse, nor wants to, to live and work near Bamfield for a couple of years. His artist wife, well-known for her paintings of the plains will have the opportunity to paint different scenes in their new home. Sarah of course does not want to move, her best friend is here in Wyoming. However, at eleven one has little in the way of choices. But Sarah has no idea how much her new home will change her life. Though well-populated with many full-fledged characters, this is really Sarah's story.
If I take nothing more away with me from reading this book, these three alone were worth the read: live life fully; "forgiveness will set you free"; know when to let go. Of course I loved many things about this book, and it deals with many subjects that afflict peoples lives today. [On a personal note, I mean no disrespect when I refer to our native people as indian. As a Chief once told my husband when he asked what he wanted him to call him, he said to call him an indian, the government made him an indian when they created the legislation in the 1800s, and they call themselves indian because why should they keep changing names, because someone tells them to?:]*
Very soon after arriving at their new rural home, Sarah meets Goldie, her neighbor who is indian and also eleven. They become the best of friends and very soon both families become as close as non-family can be. Goldie's grandmother Nana, regales the girls with many legends, and yet it seems that she is tapping into something that Sarah is thinking or troubled about. I know, you are wondering about the whales. Sarah had been warned by her parents never to swim past the float because a young boy had tried to swim to the nearby island the year before and drowned. Sarah soon hears from Goldie that she believes her brother is now an Orca (Killer Whale) and swims nearby so she can talk to him. Nana narrates the legend to the girls later and Sarah then understands what Goldie was talking about. Sarah's mother and Nana have also become good friends, and incorporating something of the legends in her newer paintings have given her even more notice for the mystic quality they present.
When school starts, the girls find they are in the same classroom, and sit next to each other. But trouble brews for Sarah in a case of racism and bullying all through the first year. All is not terror for her though, as she becomes popular among her classmates and has also caught the eye of a popular young boy Adam, causing her to giggle and blush every time he looks at her. Goldie tells her he is part Haida, part white. A field trip on the boat Sarah's father does his research on brings a great windup to the school year. They are all mesmerized by the sounds of both fish and whales after Sarah's father drops the echolocation microphone into the water and turns the volume up so all can hear. Adam in particular looks toward his future as he learns as much as he can from Sarah's father.
The book takes place over approximately 13-14 years and there is so much to tell, but I will not plant spoilers. I have left a large part of the book undiscussed. Let me just say that this is one book I am thrilled to have had the opportunity not only to read, but to feel. It is as though I was dropped into the mind of Sarah and existing within these pages myself, feeling every emotion. Cheryl Kaye Tardif, you are an inspiration! The version I am reviewing is an ebook, and is more recent than the original printed book (I chose the pdf file and printed it because I don't have a reader). This book should be read by everyone, perhaps a little too sad in places for young children but definitely for 12+ because some of the lessons learned, almost by absorption, are particularly applicable to that age group. For the rest of us, we are never too old to learn something new, and sometimes you can go home again.* *This review is written by a Canadian reader, reference to legislation is Canadian...more
I find it incredible that this is a debut novel, it is so well-written. Mara Feeney has written a wonderful novelRankin Inlet, a Novel by Mara Feeney
I find it incredible that this is a debut novel, it is so well-written. Mara Feeney has written a wonderful novel taking place in a part of Canada few people know about. The characters and descriptions of life in Rankin Inlet are so real that it is difficult to realize this is a novel and not a true story. Ms. Feeney has personal experience to draw from. The book is written with a very compelling knowledge of life in the isolated north, and no doubt at least some of her characters are based in some small part upon real people, or a combination of individuals she has known or met. To this Canadian reader I felt a connection to this far northern village through this book.
The story begins in 1971 when our heroine, Alison, comes from Liverpool, England to be a nurse in this remote location. After waiting for weather to clear she is on her way north in a small plane flown by a bush pilot, arriving in a village that looks completely alien to her.
The book is written as a diary by Alison, some pages devoted to the stories of the patients themselves, some to the families of patients. The stories are told in the voices of the characters. Historical and accurate, this is the first book I have read of this particularly remote area and am very glad I did. This is a delightful read with the characters bringing us from the old ways via a grandfather talking to his critically ill daughter, and later to his grandchildren. The novel continues to update right through the creation of Nunavut, the newest of the northern Territories of Canada in 1999.
The "first hand" stories of the entire family of Nikmak, the grandfather, give the reader insight impossible to get without an actual non-fiction biographical work. When Alison marries into the family we really begin to see the changes as they occur in the lives of the Inuit. Using the true Inuktitut words in many cases adds to the authenticity of the book. Although explained as the words are first used, there is also a glossary at the back of the book.
It is a tale of hardship, family, lifestyles old and new. The coming of electricity, skidoos, and finally television and computers, while still trying to maintain some tradition in their lives becomes more difficult as time goes on. Children in the old days were sent away to school, later they were able to be schooled in Rankin Inlet. Many of the Inuit children are now able to go on to university in Manitoba and become a part of the evolution of the north while trying to protect the rights of the "people of the land". Alison's own sons and daughters become very active in the environment, the growth, and the government of Nunavut.
I would definitely recommend this book to any age group as a glimpse of the Arctic and its contribution to the development of this country, to the mix of ethnicities of Canada, and among the first peoples of Canada....more
This is my favorite Kate Shugak story. Not quite the usual story but hilarious. Imagine beginning your day with a jetplane dropping its engine right bThis is my favorite Kate Shugak story. Not quite the usual story but hilarious. Imagine beginning your day with a jetplane dropping its engine right behind your house! After a long Alaskan winter it is Break Up time, hungry bears awakening, rivers starting to run, and insanity in bloom after so many long days in the dark and cold. This one is hard to find, must be popular with more than me! I first read it as a library book, as I did with most of the series and have been gradually buying them ever since. I love the Kate Shugak series by Dana Stabenow, as well as her Liam Campbell series. I've yet to read her Star Svensdotter Series (SciFi) and considering they are out of print I may never get the chance....more
I am a long-time fan of Doss' Charlie Moon series, but this one seems to have a lot more humour than previous books. I love the interaction between thI am a long-time fan of Doss' Charlie Moon series, but this one seems to have a lot more humour than previous books. I love the interaction between the characters, the blend of cultures, Ute, Apache and white, the glimpses of the old ways through Charlie's aunt Daisy - the elderly shaman, and the uniqueness of his mysteries. I would certainly recommend his books to those who like a dish of humour with their murder mysteries. For Tony Hillerman fans who are bereft of the famous Leaphorn & Chee Navajo series since his passing, this is a great series to check out. ...more
Adrianne Harun has nailed it! I live along Highway 16. Adrianne Harun has taken this "Highway of Tears" and created an amazing fantasy based on the dAdrianne Harun has nailed it! I live along Highway 16. Adrianne Harun has taken this "Highway of Tears" and created an amazing fantasy based on the disappearances of mostly aboriginal girls, a case that defies solving to this day. Mixing reality, myth, the plight of small logging towns in northern British Columbia, and the boredom of mixed-race youth and hopelessness of the poor, she has run with this fascinating story. Her descriptive prose, the stories told by Leo's Uncle Lud, and a man who is unknown yet known, and a mysterious young girl--is she really the Snow Woman?--all combine to make this story compelling. The devil has many faces.
The characterizations and mindsets are spot on, too often found in these small one-store towns in the forests of British Columbia. Youngsters must work, alcoholism is rife, and in their free time make their own entertainment, whether good or bad. A group of friends stick together, surviving the odds. Adrianne has taken on these elements and many others to give us a mythical yet not unknown reality, mixed it up and turned out full-blown a novel we can feel. Sad though these conditions are, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I was mesmerized and found it hard to put the book down, not wanting to lose a single thread. Remember her name, I'm sure we will be hearing it in the future. Review based on Advance Reading Copy (ARC)...more
Flint & Feather, The Life and Times of E. Pauline Johnson, Tekahionwake by Charlotte Gray
Having grown up on the "Legends of Vancouver" and knowingFlint & Feather, The Life and Times of E. Pauline Johnson, Tekahionwake by Charlotte Gray
Having grown up on the "Legends of Vancouver" and knowing so well the places described therein, having known since a little girl of Pauline Johnson's resting place by Siwash Rock, (indeed, I have often visited her grave through the years - Betty), I was thrilled to be able to review Charlotte Gray's book, Flint & Feather, and she does not disappoint! All the passion, determination, sensibility and presentation comes through strong and clear. The book begins with a lengthy genealogy which some may find a bit tiresome, but to me it brought a vivid sense of history and pride, and I would not have skipped over it for anything. This background is essential to knowing how she and her siblings became who they were. Throughout the book, this pre-history plays a major role in Pauline’s life and destiny and how she handled it. Personally, I was amazed at how much I did not know of Canadian history both Iroquois and British, and how supportive the Iroquois Confederation was of the British in these early times, how civilized, organized and productive their people were, and what an impact they had on our history. In fact, a quick search on the Internet tells me “The Six Nations: Oldest Living Participatory Democracy on Earth” Charlotte Gray has brought to life so completely Pauline's story that I found myself feeling as though I was there. I particularly enjoyed reading the excerpts of Pauline’s letters included in the narrative. It is incredible to think that she lived in the period 1861-1913, a time in which neither native, nor woman had much say in the world. Breaking into the literary “old boys club” was almost unheard of. Pauline was a trooper, and largely ignored what wasn’t quite “proper” to the British elite. However, she overcomes this as she does every other obstacle. This is without a doubt the best book on Pauline I have ever read. So many names are familiar, how she slips into two personas is absolutely amazing. This book does not only deal with Pauline's extremely unusual and fascinating life, but we learn a lot of history and geography throughout the entire book; not shoved down our throats, but just through the narrative, the poems and the travel. Pauline travelled everywhere... from the elite of London to the tiny mining and logging camps of western Canada. A truly amazing book, entertaining and honest, I highly recommend this read nut just to every Canadian, but the northern US and Britain as well. I am proud to learn of an amazing woman who overcame, in fact embraced, her dual race, one who fought the discrepancies between men and women of the day, and still reached the top! Even the terrible disease she fought to her death she overcame through sheer determination far longer that anyone would have imagined possible. This book is well worth reading about a woman who is endearing and a major force in getting us where we are today. Excellent book! My congratulations and adulation to Charlotte Gray!...more