Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Celebrating Canada's 150th: August

August's title is Truth and Bright Water by Thomas King.  I enjoyed his nonfiction book so much that I thought I'd try a novel too.  And he didn't disappoint!

Image result for truth and bright water  Book Summary: Truth & Bright Water is the tale of two young cousins and one long summer. Tecumseh and Lum live in Truth, a small American town, and Bright Water, the reserve across the border and over the river. Family is the only reason most of the people stay in the towns, and yet old secrets and new mysteries keep pulling the more nomadic residents back to the fold.

Monroe Swimmer, famous Indian artist, returns to live in the old church with the hope of painting it into the prairie landscape and re-establishing the buffalo population. Tecumseh’s Aunt Cassie has come back too, already arguing with his mother. Why has his mother given Cassie a suitcase full of baby clothes? And why is Lum interested only in winning the Indian Days race?

Tecumseh has more questions than anyone will answer, until the Indian Days festival arrives and the mysteries of the summer collide in love, betrayal and reconciliation. Equally plainspoken and poetic, comic and poignant, Truth & Bright Water is a crackling good story that resonates with universal truths.

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book... King's sense of humor clearly shines through and at the same time, he doesn't hold back on the darkness either.  I found Monroe Swimmer a fascinating character... he's one of the few who seems to "escape" from Truth and Bright Water and find success out in the world, but he returns seeming so broken.  I love how he buys the mission church and paints it so that it disappears into the landscape and sets up sculptured buffalo in the fields around it...a very literal use of art to erase the damage done by missions among the Indigenous people and to try to restore the old order.  Swimmer restores the old practice giving away all your possessions at a pot latch and uses this to bring healing in the community.  He says he's moving on... he's heard there's a former residential school for sale and he's going to buy it and paint it away.  

And Lum; Oh, Lum... Lum will baffle you and break your heart, especially if you're the parent of a teen aged boy.  

This book has it all - mysteries, memorable characters, relationships, art, nature, culture, humor, darkness and overall, a glimmer of hope.  Definitely worth the read!

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