Reader’s Corner: Second-hand adventure
By Kathleen Duhamel and Bonne McCune ~
“They call us survivors…I don’t think I survived.” Set in the 1970s, Cree novelist Michelle Good’s engrossing Five Little Indians follows five indigenous youths taken from their parents as small children and placed in a church-run residential school in British Columbia. Once they are released (or escape from their abusers) without any skills or family support, the teens rely on each other to survive in a racist, hostile world. Good does an excellent job of creating memorable characters whose lives continue to intersect, mingling heartbreak and hope into a compelling story of the Canadian government’s attempt at cultural genocide.
West with the Night (Beryl Markham) A modern classic, this is a true adventure from the woman Ernest Hemingway touted as the best writer he’d read. Born in England, raised in Africa, Markham lived in the margin between white ranchers and African natives, as wild as the animals she hunted. She eventually learned to fly bush airplanes from the best, herded elephants for safaris, and became the first woman to fly solo transatlantic, from England to North America. She followed her dreams, thumbed her nose at conventions, met success and failure with equal poise. Inspires and fills the reader with awe at nature’s bounty.
How can a fantasy hold so many of life’s truths? Find out in The Golem and the Jinni (Helene Wecker) The tales and characters of this enchanting story discover what truly makes a human and give hints about what humanity might achieve, if only we develop our talents and awareness. Chava, the golem, meets Ahmad, a being of fire. Both battle bonds not of their making to win their future. Rooted in folk tales from two different cultures—Yiddish and Syrian—the story also incorporates turn-of-the-century New York immigrants’ life in a fascinating hybrid of three cultures.