Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Through Black Spruce

My 14th official read for the challenge, Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden was a great read. It is a novel set in Northern Ontario about contemporary aboriginal life, and the difficulties faced by a people coping with life both in the forest and in the city, where for some, addiction and crime rein supreme and takes over and controls the direction their lives take. This theme is not something I have read in fiction before and I was struck by the difficulties faced by the main characters which likely mirrors the lives of people living this reality today. On the edges of the story it touched on subjects heard on the news - youth addicted to sniffing gas, alcholism etc. It also touched on some of the aboriginal traditions that are maintained by some today. It took me a few chapters to get into the story and figure out that each chapter alternated being narratted by a male character - Wil - and a female character - his neice Annie. Once I understood how this was being narrated, I found that I continually wanted to get to the next chapter to catch up to where the narrating character's story continued. I don't want to spoil the end, so I would recommend reading this novel and letting the story and the curiousity of how it will end carry you away!

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