In Rankin Inlet, a small town bordering the Arctic Ocean, the lives of the Inuit are gradually changing. The caribou and seals are no longer plentiful, and Western commerce has come to the community through a proposed diamond mine. Victoria Robertson wakes to a violent storm, her three children stirring in the dark. Her father, Emo, a legendary hunter who has come in off the land to work in a mine, checks to see if the family is all right. So does her Inuit lover, as Victorias British husband is away on business.
Thus the reader enters into the modern contradictions of the Arcticwalrus meat and convenience food, midnight sun and 24-hour satellite TV, dog teams and diamond minesand into the heart of Victoria's internal exile. Born on the tundra in the 1950s, Victoria knows nothing but the nomadic life of the Inuit until, at the age of ten, she is diagnosed with tuberculosis and evacuated to a southern sanitarium. When she returns home six years later, she finds a radically different world, where the traditionally rootless tribes have uneasily congregated in small communities. And Victoria has become a stranger to her family and her culture.
Storms are sex. They exist alongside and are indifferent to words and description and dissection. It had been blizzarding for five days and Victoria had no words to describe her restlessness. Motion everywhere, even the floors vibrated, and such motion was impossible to ignore, just as it was impossible not to notice the squeaking walls, the relentless shuddering of the wind. Robertson was in Yellowknife, and she and the kids had been stuck in this rattling house for almost a week, the tundra trying to get inside, snow drifting higher than the windows, and everyone inside the house longing to be out.
It was morning, again, and she was awake and so were the kids, but they had all stayed in bed and listened to the walls shake. Nine, or something like that, and still perfectly black. She had been dreaming that she was having sex with Robertson. She was glad she had woken up. Even the unreal picture of it had left her feeling alarmedthough that eased as the image of the...
At first glance the title of this exceptional first novel would seem to refer to the common name for tuberculosis, so named because the infection appears to consume people from within. However, as the novel progresses, consumption takes on a different meaning as we see the Inuit way of life and even the land they live on being consumed by "civilization" and the quest for profit.
(Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Full Review (892 words).
Rankin Inlet (picture)
has a population of about 2,200.
It is located on the 63rd
parallel on the west shore of
Hudson Bay (map)
approximately 1,100 miles north
of Winnipeg in the recently
formed territory of Nunavut,
which was officially separated
from the Canadian Northwest
Territories in April 1999.
A Short History of the Inuit
According to nunavut.com, the history of the Inuit begins in the southern Bering Sea (North Pacific) where, about 2 to 3,000 years ago, an ancient ...
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