I was fortunate to get my hands on an ARC of Refugees of Confederation by T. F. Pruden, scheduled for release on Feb 11/22. I am an avid reader, but there are perhaps only a dozen books on my laden shelves that I reread – this makes the list. Refugees of Confederation is Pruden’s sixth novel and should put him front and centre as one of Canada’s finest storytellers.
Refugees of Confederation, an unexpected masterpiece. Pruden demonstrates his craft as a storyteller weaving the narratives of an Indigenous family, rich in failings, in a rapidly changing world in Canada’s hinterlands from the 1940’s – 1980’s.
As a writer of Metis descent Pruden highlights Canada’s shameful history and the impact to generations made unwelcome in their own home. A Canada that opened its arms to many while committing atrocities of its own ……stealing land, culture, language, children.
A tale of a family broken by racism, violence, addictions, poverty and injustice. And amidst the wreckage we find hope, love, honour in their stories. Coming together to say farewell to a sister and celebrating family. He captures the ordinary greatness of each deftly wrought character with wry tenderness for generations to come
And I weep as the narrator’s final words echo……
“We are them, and they are us. As you, most certainly, are me. And all the dreams that live in your imagination, at any time and in whatever place, be they good, bad, or indifferent, are ever possible. For not one thing is, nor can be, just as it seems. All that, and plenty more, is what this history of our people teaches.”
Refugees of Confederation is a Canadian classic waiting to be discovered.
Peace & Happiness