From Publishers Weekly
Following up on the success of Three Day Road
, Boyden delivers the powerful story of former bush pilot and Cree native Will Bird. The novel opens with Will in a coma, with his niece Annie, who just returned from an eight-month excursion in search of her sister, by his side. Narrated by Will and Annie, the story backtracks to tell of Will's fight to keep his bush-country Indian life alive and protected while he suppresses painful childhood memories (and befriends an old bear). Annie, a skillful hunter and animal trapper, dictates her escapades after rushing off to New York City in pursuit of her sister, Suzanne, a model who has shacked up with a member of the narcotics-smuggling Netmakers family. As Will struggles to survive and Annie reintegrates into the isolated bush, the two stories dovetail as the Netmakers cross paths with Will. Though the incongruously melodramatic denouement doesn't fit with the richly textured narrative preceding it, the novel as a whole is an intelligent, multilayered accomplishment, and well worth reading. (Mar.)
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'Joseph Boyden's novel is, simply, beautiful: you will lose yourself in the richness of its prose and the ever-deepening puzzles it inveigles you into. THROUGH BLACK SPRUCE is fluent, involving fiction, and as good an advertisement as any for unforgiving wilderness living.' -- Tim Teeman THE TIMES 'This complex and interesting novel is all about strong family bonds.' HOT STARS 'a remarkable view into a lost world dismantled so brutally by the white 'wemestikushu'... Boyden guides us through customs, mythologies and rituals that attend life in the bush.' TLS 'mesmerising. In the wild, dreams are prophetic and spiritual truths revealed... his characters are most moving when revelations occur in small, quite moments.' -- Julie Wheelwright THE INDEPENDENT 'It is a powerful novel of place and the ties that bind families... A fine achievement, Through Black Spruce is extraordinary.' IRISH EXAMINER 'love, betrayal and loss in the wild and frozen Canadian wilderness. A strangely haunting read.' CHOICE 'Alternating between life at its most elemental and most decadent, Boyden's tale skilfully reflects the Indians' struggle to embrace modern society.' -- Anthony Gardner MAIL ON SUNDAY
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