From internationally acclaimed author Joseph Boyden comes an astonishingly powerful novel of contemporary Aboriginal life, full of the dangers and harsh beauty of both forest and city. When beautiful Suzanne Bird disappears after moving to the city, her sister Annie, a loner and hunter, is compelled to go in search of her. To follow her sister's trail, Annie must leave behind their uncle, Will, a man haunted by loss. While Annie travels from Toronto to New York, from modelling studios to A-list parties, Will encounters dire troubles. Both eventually come to painful discoveries about the inescapable ties of family. Winner of the 2008 Giller Prize, Through Black Spruce is an utterly unforgettable consideration of how we discover who we really are.
Following up on the success of Three Day Road, Boyden delivers the powerful story of former bush pilot and Cree native Will Bird. The novel opens with Will in a coma, with his niece Annie, who just returned from an eight-month excursion in search of her sister, by his side. Narrated by Will and Annie, the story backtracks to tell of Will's fight to keep his bush-country Indian life alive and protected while he suppresses painful childhood memories (and befriends an old bear). Annie, a skillful hunter and animal trapper, dictates her escapades after rushing off to New York City in pursuit of her sister, Suzanne, a model who has shacked up with a member of the narcotics-smuggling Netmakers family. As Will struggles to survive and Annie reintegrates into the isolated bush, the two stories dovetail as the Netmakers cross paths with Will. Though the incongruously melodramatic denouement doesn't fit with the richly textured narrative preceding it, the novel as a whole is an intelligent, multilayered accomplishment, and well worth reading.