Food and Spirits


127 pages
ISBN 0-88974-032-1
DDC C813'.54





Reviewed by Beverly Rasporich

Beverly Rasporich is an associate professor in the Faculty of General
Studies at the University of Calgary and the author of Dance of the
Sexes: Art and Gender in the Fiction of Alice Munro.


This slim volume of nine short stories includes “Telling,” a
prose-poem of intense feeling about the horrific “last secrets” of
the life of Betty Osbourne, and “This is History,” a compelling
version of the Native creation story with the female principle at the
centre. The remaining seven contemporary stories seem uneven in quality
in that each narrative’s protesting voice (which simultaneously
protests Native experience and affirms human relationships) is
occasionally intrusive or threatens to be heavy-handed. This is most
true of “Wild Turkeys,” a story in which the dialogue about female
abuse overrides other fictional elements. At the same time, there are
stories here that subtly present the ambiguous, loving, and fleeting
complexity of human relationships. The best is “Turtle Gal,” about a
young Indian girl and an aged Negro musician. This perfect gem of a
story should be anthologized wherever possible; it alone makes this
collection worthwhile.

Brant is the feminist Mohawk editor of A Gathering of Spirit, an
impressive collection of literary art by Native women.


Brant, Beth., “Food and Spirits,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 25, 2024,