Friday, 30 June 2017

"Through Black Spruce" by Joseph Boyden

    Preparing to lead two book clubs in their discussions of "Through Black Spruce" has taken a great deal of time.
   I found the dual narratives and the non-linear story line made the book a challenge to read in the first place.  I realize that many people enjoy this type of storytelling and I have tried to get beyond the structure and make sure that we get to the heart of the story and understand what Joseph Boyden was trying to say.
   We are reading this book for Indigenous Book Club Month, with the purpose of "increasing our awareness and understanding of the Indigenous people".
Joseph Boyden
   Joseph visited our city in 2006, when we read "Three Day Road" for One Book One Community.  This book is supposedly a follow-up, although it is very different.  It is the story of the son of one of the characters in "Three Day Road".
   There has been some controversy about Boyden's Indigenous roots.  I have read much of the firestorm, but mostly I appreciate the quote from Wab Kinew: "Indigenous membership is multi-faceted.    It can include blood but also adoption.  We cannot have identity police."
   Joseph has admitted that his blood connection is distant and that he has been unable to trace the specifics.

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