by Jarrett Seto
In the last few years, there’s been an abundance of books written by Indigenous authors and their voices have much to tell. Check out these page turners that give insight into the Indigenous experience. You’ll find tragedy, adversity, comedy, but most importantly, hope in these books written by Canadian authors.
Indians On Vacation: A Novel by Thomas King (2020)
Indians On Vacation reads in the same vein of King’s other books in that they are filled with his trademark ability to blend both irony and comedy. Wit and banter aside, be prepared to enjoy the adventures of Mimi and Bird as they travel through Europe. It is well known that you’ll find truth in comedy (albeit adjusted for the audience), and Indians On Vacation is no exception from this. Marriage, systemic racism, tourism, and injustice are presented to the reader between servings of laughter that add a sobering reminder to what life can be like depending on the cards you’re dealt.
The Lesser Blessed by Richard Van Camp (2016)
Richard Van Camp possesses a unique talent to thrust his readers into the North. The proper North, where the summers are slim and the opportunities are naught. Where you live on the thin edge of a country, a vast expanse hindered by many kinds of distance. It’s uncomfortably relatable if you grew up in a have-not province, whether it be a mill town on the Acadian coast, a declining Albertan junction surrounded by prairie that loses more buildings to the wind than decay, or a village in North Ontario, where you should have access to clean running water, but you don’t. Van Camp’s debut novel is about growing up, disillusionment, and coming to terms with who you are. Deeply funny and filled with poignancy, you’ll wish there were more pages to read when you’re finished.
From the Ashes: My Story Of Being Métis, Homeless, And Finding My Way by Jesse Thistle (2019)
Jesse Thistle’s memoir will leave you with sadness and understanding. It’s a tough read for some, due to the gritty pages tackling homelessness and addiction. From the Ashes doesn’t shy away from any of it. The clinical gaze of city reports or dry articles on these social issues is replaced with a raw and graphic, in your face somber reminder of reality, that real people struggle with this day to day. Abandonment, cycles of violence, drug abuse, and crime saturate Thistle’s early life. The story of his attempts to overcome it and turn his life around is inspiring.
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