Confession of a Serial Book Dater: Joseph Boyden’s THROUGH BLACK SPRUCE

I’m going to try to finish reading 30 books by the end of 2015 (rather than reading the first chapter of each before tossing ’em aside, which has become my bad reading habit).

51MehE7kutLWith this in mind, I picked up Joseph Boyden’s THROUGH BLACK SPRUCE and finished it a few days ago.

(1 book down, 29 more to go)

Summary: This is the story of two immensely compelling characters: Will Bird, a legendary Cree bush pilot who lies comatose in a remote Ontario hospital; and Annie Bird, Will’s niece, a beautiful loner and trapper who has come to sit beside her uncle’s bed.

Broken in different ways, the two take silent communion in their unspoken kinship, revealing a story rife with heartbreak, fierce love, ancient feuds, mysterious disappearances, murders, and the bonds that hold a family, and a people, together.

What I disliked: Throughout the first 80 pages or so, I set the book aside several times, my heart wandering to other books. Those 80-ish pages…I found to be really draggy. The plot didn’t seem to be going anywhere. But I read on because I enjoyed the writing style.

What I liked: Once I reached the second quarter of the book, the story picked up and packed some really good emotional punches.

As I read on, the two narrative voices that initially seemed unrelated started intersecting together into a poignant tale of family, love and healing. From page 80 onwards, I found myself furiously underlining the many beautiful passages.

Favorite Passage: “When I die, nieces, I want to be cremated, my ashes taken up in a bush plane and sprinkled onto the people in town below. Let them think my body is snowflakes, sticking in their hair and on their shoulders like dandruff.”

I recommend this book if you’re:

  • into stories about family healing
  • into books that give a sense of community
  • interested in magical realism
  • have a thing for indigenous literature
  • tired of the city and want to escape into the haunting & majestic wilderness of Canada

LOVED this book, and now I’m leaving it for Kate Morton’s THE FORGOTTEN GARDEN or Ha Jin’s MAP OF BETRAYAL while I wait for The Book (Winston Graham’s ROSS POLDARK) to arrive in the mail (I want to read the book before watching the BBC adaptation!).

~~

On a different note, I discovered the TV series ANNO 1790. I really want to watch it but can’t find a subtitled version *le sigh*

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Confession of a Serial Book Dater: Joseph Boyden’s THROUGH BLACK SPRUCE

  1. Ooh, I have never read a book yet that’s based in Canada. I like the way you did the review as well.

    And I see you had a full request from Agent B! *squeee* How nerve wrecking and wonderful at the same time.

    Like

    • I use to think Canadian lit was a bit dull until I discovered indigenous literature from Canada–it’s amazing and so magical. It’s hard for me to get into fiction usually, but not with these books.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the way I reviewed it! (It was fun but also not as time-consuming)

      Yes! Agent B! We’ll see where it goes.

      Like

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