Through Black Spruce: A Novel Review

Through Black Spruce: A Novel
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Through Black Spruce: A Novel ReviewThrough Black Spruce was chosen as the winner of this year's Giller Prize, the top Canadian book award. The panel of 3 that chose it included Margaret Attwood and Colm Toibin (IMPAC Award winner). I hoped this meant I was in safe hands with the recommendation.
I had nothing to worry about. I found Boyden to be an excellent storyteller.
Annie, a young Cree woman from very far northern Ontario (look Moosonee up on the map) has returned to her home town to escape recent events. She gets into the habit of visiting her coma ridden uncle at the hospital for several hours each night.
At this point two story lines emerge. Every second chapter is narrated by Annie as she relates her recent experiences to her uncle. She wonders if he can hear her.
Every other chapter is narrated by Uncle Will as we discover the sequence of events that lead to his current state.
Both storylines are very different and both are compelling. It is difficult to decide which one I liked better. The stories are fluid and both action packed.
Annie, who has lived near Moosonee all her life goes to Toronto with a friend for a vacation with the hope of finding information about her missing sister, Suzanne. Annie and her family are very concerned that Suzanne has met an untimely end. Suzanne is very beautiful and they know from magazines that she has done high fashion modelling. She left Moosonee with an unsavoury character and has certainly gotten into some osrt of trouble.
Annie becomes obsessed with finding her sister and ends up becoming entwined in the world of high fashion and drugs. She also does some modelling and becomes very involved with a world of privilege in Montreal and New York.
Uncle Will's story revolves around his conflict with a local drug dealer named Marius. Marius believes Will has informed on him to the police. Will is terrorized by Marius and must learn to fight back.
Ultimately the story lines intersect and events come to a head.
This is a very quick and fast moving read and I found it to be consistently entertaining. I definitely recommend it.Through Black Spruce: A Novel OverviewA haunting novel about identity, love, and loss by the author of Three Day RoadWill Bird is a legendary Cree bush pilot, now lying in a coma in a hospital in his hometown of Moose Factory, Ontario. His niece Annie Bird, beautiful and self-reliant, has returned from her own perilous journey to sit beside his bed. Broken in different ways, the two take silent communion in their unspoken kinship, and the story that unfolds is rife with heartbreak, fierce love, ancient blood feuds, mysterious disappearances, fires, plane crashes, murders, and the bonds that hold a family, and a people, together. As Will and Annie reveal their secrets—the tragic betrayal that cost Will his family, Annie's desperate search for her missing sister, the famous model Suzanne—a remarkable saga of resilience and destiny takes shape. From the dangerous bush country of upper Canada to the drug-fueled glamour of the Manhattan club scene, Joseph Boyden tracks his characters with a keen eye for the telling detail and a rare empathy for the empty places concealed within the heart. Sure to appeal to readers of Louise Erdrich and Jim Harrison, Through Black Spruce establishes Boyden as a writer of startling originality and uncommon power.

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