Book Review: Joseph Boyden, Through Black Spruce

A gifted storyteller and award-winning author, Joseph Boyden has successfully followed up on Three Day Road with the story of Annie and her uncle Will. On the search for her recently missing sister, a New York-based model, Annie leaves the community she knows and heads for the studios and “A-list” parties of the big city.

Drugs and the death of the traditional life top the list of problems plaguing the aboriginal community of Moosonee, and are running themes throughout Through Black Spruce. The book is an impressive analysis of contemporary aboriginal life; while no explicit reference is made to the mental trauma caused by past abuses the results are tangible throughout the novel.

But for all of the story’s the power, the climax is, in truth, anti-climactic at best. Instead of resolving itself in the same natural progression as the rest of the story, the narrative switches tones entirely and becomes almost melodramatic. An unfortunately disappointing ending to a stellar novel.

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