By Lynn Willoughby
The Marrow Thieves ~ Cherie Dimaline
This book was a Canada Reads choice in 2018. It is classified as a young adult book but I enjoyed it a lot, after it had been recommended to me – twice.
The Indigenous people of North America are being hunted in order to harvest their bone marrow. It carries something the rest of society is missing. The setting is in the dystopian future where post climate change has reordered the landscape, the lakes are polluted, earthquakes have decimated all the coast lines, animals and birds are changed or having trouble surviving, rain falls and falls and falls.
The author brilliantly connects the legacy of residential schools to the chaos of the world in 2029. Our protagonist, Frenchie, is a Metis teenager on the run with a motley band, all wearing ragged bits of used clothing. They are of various ages and backgrounds. Food is always scarce, the raccoons are the size of huskies, and there is the ever present danger of the “recruiters” – employed by the government of Canada to forcibly capture Inuit, Metis and First Nations people and turn them over to the harvesting factories.
Frenchie forms a type of family with eight other Indigenous nomads – each of whom has his or her own story of trauma and horror. Any one of these stories would break most people, but the group struggles to find drinkable water, something to eat at the end of each day on the run.
This coming of age novel is unlike any I have read. I enjoyed it very much.
It is a debut novel.
Anashnabe is “The Harmony Way” integrating many Indigenous values.