Through Black Spruce: A Novel

( 5 )

Overview

A haunting novel of love, identity, and loss-from the internationally acclaimed author of Three Day Road

Beautifully written and startlingly original, Through Black Spruce takes the considerable talents of Canadian novelist Joseph Boyden to new and exciting heights. 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 ...

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Through Black Spruce: A Novel

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Overview

A haunting novel of love, identity, and loss-from the internationally acclaimed author of Three Day Road

Beautifully written and startlingly original, Through Black Spruce takes the considerable talents of Canadian novelist Joseph Boyden to new and exciting heights. 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. From the rugged Canadian wilderness to the drug-fueled glamour of the Manhattan club scene, this is thrilling, atmospheric storytelling at its finest.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143116509
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/23/2010
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 299,350
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Joseph Boyden is a Canadian of Irish, Scottish, and Metis roots. He divides his time between northern Ontario and Louisiana, where he teaches writing at the University of New Orleans.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2013

    Great book!

    Just loved it.

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  • Posted April 16, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Hard to get into

    The novel is a follow up to Mr. Boyden's award winning novel "Three Days Road", recounting the histories and lives of two fictional James Bay Cree families (The Birds and the Whiskeyjacks).

    This latest novel centers on Will Bird, son of Xavier Bird, the heroic soldier we were introduced to previously. The story comes to live through two intertwined monologues. We follow Will's thoughts while he recovers from a serious plane crash, a near death encounter that has left him comatose in a hospital bed. Will is an engaging storyteller, a bush pilot by trade and a charming alcoholic by fate with many tales of adventure to tell, some a hoot and some distressful to hear. Alternate chapters are narrated by his niece Annie Bird while she sits in vigil by his bedside trying to stimulate him back to the living. She uses the time to recount her adventures in Toronto, Montreal and New York while in search of her lost sister Suzanne.

    These flashbacks create short stories in their lives, each one a glimpse into the desolate forests that surround James Bay and the all too similar affect the underground fashion world can have on someone not accustom to the rat race of the big cities. Each layer reveals secrets of violence, incompetence, kindness, love and compassion.

    The novel is hard to get into at first, the story launches quickly into two narratives, each one hard to decipher which character is talking and how the bits of information fit together. I gradually immersed myself into the tale and once settle, let the story run its course. I was drawn in by the vivid description of Canada's vast wilderness and its inhabitants who call it home, the Cree. It was an eye opener realizing the challenges and hardship native people face in big cities where there is a multitude of cultures all trying to survive. The characterization is powerful and the players come across as genuine and loveable. Although the pacing is very slow and the reading is tedious at times, in retrospect I enjoyed the refreshing and informative look into another way of life..

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  • Posted February 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    This deep family drama contains two powerful contrasting story lines that ultimately converge

    In Moose Factory, Ontario, Cree Indian Will Bird lies comatose in the hospital after a beating. While he "dreams" of his life as a bush pilot amongst other things, his niece Annie , a hunter, has come home after an eight-month search for her runaway sister Suzanne who has become a popular model in Manhattan, to be at her uncle's side. Annie knows she has more in common with her uncle as a proficient hunter than she does with her younger "urbanized party going sibling who is connected to the ruthless Netmakers drug smugglers.

    Will struggles for his life through his memories while Annie struggles to move past her efforts to connect with Suzanne. Annie's boyfriend semi-hermit Gordon helps in his way. However the brave female hunter reconsiders her walking away from New York as she ponders hunting two-legged animals to rescue her sister and provide homage to dying Will who also has a nefarious link to the Netmakers.

    This deep family drama contains two powerful contrasting story lines that ultimately converge. The cast is fully developed with the three Birds as the key players who come across as genuine; while the support casts enhances understanding of their personalities or the locale of Ontario or Manhattan. Although the probability of the ending occurring would have the odds of the Detroit Lions winning the next Superbowl, fans will relish the rustic stories of Will and Annie and to a lesser degree Suzanne in the city.

    Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews

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