Longlisted for the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize
Shortlisted for the 2019 Amazon First Novel Award
Shortlisted for the 2019 Kobo Emerging Writer Prize
Winner of the 2019 Indigenous Voices Award for Published Prose in English
Winner of the 2018 Alcuin Society Awards for Excellence in Book Design – Prose Fiction
Longlisted for the 2019 Sunburst Award
From the internationally acclaimed Inuit throat singer who has dazzled and enthralled the world with music it had never heard before, a fierce, tender, heartbreaking story unlike anything you've ever read.
Fact can be as strange as fiction. It can also be as dark, as violent, as rapturous. In the end, there may be no difference between them.
A girl grows up in Nunavut in the 1970s. She knows joy, and friendship, and parents' love. She knows boredom, and listlessness, and bullying. She knows the tedium of the everyday world, and the raw, amoral power of the ice and sky, the seductive energy of the animal world. She knows the ravages of alcohol, and violence at the hands of those she should be able to trust. She sees the spirits that surround her, and the immense power that dwarfs all of us.
When she becomes pregnant, she must navigate all this.
Veering back and forth between the grittiest features of a small arctic town, the electrifying proximity of the world of animals, and ravishing world of myth, Tanya Tagaq explores a world where the distinctions between good and evil, animal and human, victim and transgressor, real and imagined lose their meaning, but the guiding power of love remains.
Haunting, brooding, exhilarating, and tender all at once, Tagaq moves effortlessly between fiction and memoir, myth and reality, poetry and prose, and conjures a world and a heroine readers will never forget.
In her debut, Inuit throat singer Tagaq turns from sounds that evoke the North to writing stories that recall the often harsh realities of life in Nunavut in the 1970s. The book combines short fiction and poetry to weave together a coming-of-age story that sometimes reads like an exceptional young girl's journal. The deceptively simple vignettes mix dreams, myth, and the quotidian occurrences of Nunavut life. Through the nameless teenage girl protagonist, the book covers the impact of the residential school system; the roles of family, ancestors, and elders; high school jockeying for social position; experimentation with drugs and alcohol; and teenage pregnancy. Perhaps the best encapsulation of the twin themes of beauty and danger in the work is the depiction of the land itself: "The land has no manners; you only obey and enjoy what is afforded to you by her greatness." With lines such as "As peaceful as I wish to be, it certainly feels good to get drunk on violence" and "No one has taught us how to do this, but the ritual is old and living in our bones," Tagaq's genre-defying work establishes her as a careful, gifted wordsmith.
Wonderful book! Nakurmiik Tanya!
I could not put the (iBook) down! I am left wanting more. Felt like I had to consume every word... it is entrancing.
I have never read a book that captures so much of the North in ways that I cannot describe or comprehend yet, but it feels right.
Very proud of Tanya, and she continues to share her warmth and light with so many people. Thank you Tanya for sharing your gifts and never letting anyone bring you down. We are all stronger because of bravery like yours.
Culturally interesting but too artsy
I really enjoyed learning more about intuit culture and tradition and though it was difficult to hear knowing more about the abuses suffered by Inuit people. However I wouldn’t recommend this book if you’re not a fan of poetry. I was hoping to read a story told in the more traditional sense.