Sojourners and Sundogs: First Nations Fiction

Description

352 pages
$23.95
ISBN 0-88974-061-5
DDC C813'.54

Author

Year

2000

Contributor

Dave Hutchinson is assistant superintendent of the School District of
Mystery Lake in Thompson, Manitoba.

Review

Lee Maracle’s latest collection includes the novel Sundogs, as well as
a collection of short fiction and essays. The novel centres on the
conflict and tension experienced by the narrator, an aboriginal woman
struggling to complete a university degree while simultaneously managing
the demands imposed by tradition, her immediate and extended family, and
ultimately, colonization. The short fiction and essays cover a range of
historical and contemporary experiences and topics, including
residential schooling, family breakdown, alcoholism, poverty, and
spirituality.

Like Tomson Highway, Maracle has the ability to weave aboriginal and
European storytelling traditions together in a way that is fundamentally
tragicomic. Through this process, and again like Highway, Maracle has
made a significant contribution to the development of a distinct First
Nations literary genre. Such writers, despite the bleakness and violence
that many of their characters experience, are in fact evolving a
powerful postcolonial mythology. It is a mythology that not only
clarifies the truth about the past, but also includes themes and human
action that bespeak the path to liberation. If anything, writers like
Maracle reveal how the act of narrating the mythology is integral to
personal—and national—healing.

Sojourners and Sundogs is recommended for general readers who enjoy
good Canadian First Nations fiction, and secondary and postsecondary
teachers who specialize in aboriginal literature and aboriginal studies.

Citation

Maracle, Lee., “Sojourners and Sundogs: First Nations Fiction,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 15, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/8404.