I received a complimentary copy of this book from Reading Deals in exchange for an honest review. This is an engrossing and unusual story. Set in the Canadian Arctic in then1960's the story focuses on the thoughts and experiences of two main characters: a young Inuit girl, and a white middle aged man, a member of the RCMP, an officer serving a population of both Inuit and white Canadian citizens, living in frontier settlements and traditional villages in a remote area. Both are troubled, and at a crisis point in their lives. Both are looking for what they don't have--safety, security, understanding, and love. Both are caught up in learning the solution to a mystery, a chain of linked murders occurring over a period of time, but this is no simple murder mystery. Yes, the mystery is eventually solved, and justice achieved, but not in the usual way. The real solution is achieved through a process of discovery and redemption that allows each character to find their own freedom. The novel is richly textured with the details of traditional Inuit life, a life lived in the presence of danger and death, that has invented and developed expert survival skills in the harshest and most demanding environment. Throughout there is the melancholy sense that we are seeing the final days of a way of life disappearing under the pressure of an invasive, antithetical, dominant culture. An unusual, rich and fascinating read.
Despite the reference to murder and a Mountie, and the word “mystery” above, this book is not a conventional “murder mystery.” Instead, it’s a character-driven, in-depth examination of cultural and personal change in Canada’s arctic. While the murders propel the plot, the substance of this book is a complicated dance of the principal characters, examining relationships and events from different points of view.
Sections narrated in first person by Jack McLain alternate with third-person chapters related from the point of view of Nilliq. This is entirely appropriate, since the author is a white man whose experience of the North was several years of teaching in Quebec Inuit villages. He does not presume to speak with the voice of an Inuit woman, but makes a great effort to represent her culture accurately. All other characters are seen through the eyes of these two; in some cases the same events and people. Rather than repetitious, I found these reiterations helpful in solidifying my understanding of events and relationships.
McLain and Nilliq are people in transition. He knows his term of service is coming to an end, due to imminent bureaucratic changes. Disillusioned with trying to administer justice in a rapidly changing and idiosyncratic cultural situation, but without any solid prospects elsewhere, McLain is a somewhat sad figure, an intelligent and well-meaning individual who too easily sees the dark side of things, but with a fundamental love for the northern way of life. Nilliq teeters on the edge of womanhood, increasingly aware of the exploitation of women by the men around them, and longing for wider horizons. Opposing them and one another are the enigmatic hunter and shaman who calls himself Wallin, although he also has other names, and the menacing figure of Nilliq’s father Sandlak.
The prose is spare and direct, tracing the narrative in a linear way, but permitting the characters to show background complexities in their interactions and conversations, finally taking the reader to a point where the issue of the murders is largely resolved, allowing the main characters to move on to new situations.
Hunter’s Daughter is a tale well told, with special relevance and interest at this time when many Canadians are trying to learn more about their country’s native peoples.
I received a free copy of this book from the author, with no expectation of a review.
Late 50’s-1960’s. Aiti (Pingousi’s son) made Nilliq (18, f) feel good about herself. Wallin from Post-de-la-Baleine (town, Kuujjuarapik, Poce-Balen) stopped & rested his team of dogs.
He had been out in/on the icy tundra. Nilliq invited him in to her snowhouse. The 2 of them headed to Wallin’s (aka Charlie Tariq) house in Poste where she met his father Sandlak (hunter). Sandlak shared their family history with Aiti. What later happened to Matthesie Konik? Pootoolik (Pingousi’s father) mentioned Sandlak’s (hunter) name.
Corporal Jack McClain (RCMP) is doing an investigation. What did Quingak (Dinut’s brother) know? George (Bay mgr.) & Jack were trying to piece the Townsend Bay hunting camp mystery together. Jimmy Natsik (Inuk Police, guide) drove the team of dogs for Jack. The 2 seemed to know who the culprit was. Wallin & Nilliq were out in the middle of nowhere ice fishing. Col-de-Corbeau (town). Why did Wallin go see Father Tomlin? Will Corporal McClain (RCMP) solve the crimes? Spam had to eat that crap when I was a kid, never again I guarantee you!
My only suggestion would be for you to have put at the beginning or the end of who’s who & description of your characters. Your different description of them a lot was kind of hard to follow. Geography & other Caribou Crossing Col-de-Corbeau Smith Harbour Niviaqtuq: seal mother Etc. People Nananga: Nilliq’s grandfather Pingousi: Aiti’s father Etc.
I did not receive any type of compensation for reading & reviewing this book. While I receive free books from publishers & authors, I am under no obligation to write a positive review, only an honest one. All thoughts & opinions are entirely my own.
A very awesome book cover, great font & writing style. Wow, a very well written historical cultural fiction book. It wasn’t always very easy for me to read/follow from start/finish, but never a dull moment. There were no grammar/typo errors, nor any repetitive or out of line sequence sentences. Lots of exciting scenarios, with several twists/turns & a great set of unique characters to keep track of. This could also make another great mystery who-dun-it murder mystery movie, or better yet a mini TV. There is no doubt in my mind this is a very easy rating of 5 stars.
Thank you for the free Goodreads; Making Connections; Five Rivers Publishing; Author; PDF book Tony Parsons MSW (Washburn)