June 20, 2011

Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden

The book club has discovered a new favourite author!  Everyone enjoyed the book about the bush pilot in Northern Ontario and his niece who wanders to the big cities down south in search of her sister. If we had one complaint it would be that we should have started with the first novel from the trilogy instead of the second. We didn’t know! Oops. Here are some comments from members;
- About ¾ quarters of the way through it, I couldn’t put it down. I had to finish it and find out what happened to the bush pilot. His story was so engaging. He was my favourite character by far.
- I was upset by the violence and drunkenness the author describes in the northern aboriginal communities. At the same time I admired the knowledge of the land and how precious it is for survival.  The hunting scenes and numerous references on coping with the elements were unique.  As a reader you instantly understood the criticality of finding food, having shelter and an aircraft that runs.  I felt relieved that the younger characters showed an interest in preserving these traditions and that elders were able to mentor.
- The structure of the book was fantastic.  I loved how the chapters we’re either from the niece’s point of view or the uncle’s.  Both were confessing and their stories overlapped brilliantly.  Time jumped back and forth filling in gaps, explaining situations and leaving openings for the future.
Overall Rating ***** (4 stars out of five)

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