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The Resource Through black spruce, Joseph Boyden

Through black spruce, Joseph Boyden

Label
Through black spruce
Title
Through black spruce
Statement of responsibility
Joseph Boyden
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
Maintaining a bedside vigil for her comatose uncle, Annie Bird remembers a painful search for her missing sister, while her Uncle Will, a legendary Cree bush pilot, ruminates on a tragic betrayal that cost him his family
Storyline
Pace
Tone
Writing style
Award
  • CBA Libris Award for Fiction Book of the Year, 2009.
  • Scotiabank Giller Prize, 2008.
Review
  • 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.) --Staff (Reviewed December 8, 2008) (Publishers Weekly, vol 255, issue 49, p40)
  • Boyden's absorbing second novel (after Three Day Road ) sweeps across northern Canada's barren landscape, capturing the dignity of the Cree people, who, haunted by their proud past, struggle with modern life. Two narratives intertwine, that of Will Bird, a Cree bush pilot lying comatose in a hospital, and Annie Bird, his niece who has just returned from New York City in search of her missing sister, Suzanne, a supermodel involved in the dicey Manhattan drug scene. Once back in Moose Factory, Ontario, Annie comes to Will's bedside every day, hoping he can hear her words about her futile search for Suzanne. From his comatose state, Will recounts his own life—his perilous flights as a bush pilot, his spiritual encounter with a blind old bear, his numerous run-ins with a local gang, and his continuous battle with alcoholism. Will's and Annie's linked stories, full of many eccentric characters, attest to their family's future survival despite all the misfortune and heartbreak. Boyden writes with unassailable authenticity; his latest is strongly recommended for all fiction collections.—Donna Bettencourt, Mesa Cty. P.L., Grand Junction, CO --Donna Bettencourt (Reviewed January 15, 2009) (Library Journal, vol 134, issue 1, p76)
  • A vigorous picture of life near "James Bay in the Arctic Lowlands of Ontario" distinguishes this second novel from the Canadian-born author (Three Day Road, 2005).The book, which was awarded Canada's prestigious Giller Prize, begins unevenly, with a setup much too reminiscent of Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient: a history "dreamed" by Cree Indian bush pilot Will Bird, as he lies comatose in a hospital bed, and juxtaposed with the story recalled by Will's niece Annie, keeping a vigil beside him, of her southward journey to seek her missing younger sister Suzanne, a runaway who became a successful fashion model and "party girl." Boyden ends it even more awkwardly, with a semi-surprising disclosure about a crime that still pursues Will, and a concluding reconciliation that's improbable and sentimental. Between these extremes, the book is frequently energized by visionary splendor and raw emotional force. Annie is a fantastically observed character. A tough, vibrant woman, she's sustained by an increasingly loving relationship with her withdrawn "protector" Gordon and is unafraid to enter the worlds of narcotic and sexual excess that appear to have claimed Suzanne. Alas, the Manhattan scenes too often read like inert chick lit. Fortunately, the story is redeemed by Boyden's rich portrayal of the stoical Will, most fully realized in a subtly fragmented account of Will's arduous stay on a remote island (Akimiski), where wind and weather stalk him as relentlessly as do his old enemies—and his only companions are an elderly settler couple who seem to possess an almost mystical knowledge of his history, marauding polar bears and, in a brilliantly resonating image, a whale skeleton that washed up out of the bay.Though the forced, contrived plot almost submerges the novel, the sensuous apprehension of a distant, perilous, ineffably beautiful world draws us in and won't let us go. (Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2009)
Awards note
Scotiabank Giller Prize, 2008
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
289796
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1966-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Boyden, Joseph
Dewey number
813/.6
Index
no index present
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Cree Indians
  • Coma
  • Ontario
  • Coma
  • Cree Indians
  • Ontario
Label
Through black spruce, Joseph Boyden
Instantiates
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
ocn233548533
Dimensions
24 cm
Edition
1st American ed.
Extent
360 pages
Isbn
9780670020577
Lccn
2008042465
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
(OCoLC)233548533
Label
Through black spruce, Joseph Boyden
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
ocn233548533
Dimensions
24 cm
Edition
1st American ed.
Extent
360 pages
Isbn
9780670020577
Lccn
2008042465
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
(OCoLC)233548533

Library Locations

    • Central LibraryBorrow it
      710 W. Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX, 78701, US
      30.2713021 -97.7460168
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