By Rudy Wiebe
A Discovery of Strangers tells of the assembly of 2 civilizations – the 1st come upon of the nomadic Dene individuals with Europeans – in an inventive reconstruction of John Franklin’s first map-making day trip in 1819—21 in what's now the Northwest Territories. on the middle of the radical is a love tale among twenty-two-year-old midshipman Robert Hood, the Franklin expedition’s artist, and a fifteen-year-old Yellowknife lady recognized to the British as Greenstockings. a countrywide bestseller, released additionally in Germany and China, Wiebe’s first novel in 11 years and his 12th paintings of fiction gained him his moment Governor General’s Award for Fiction on the age of sixty, over powerful pageant from Margaret Atwood and Alice Munro.
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Birdseye and Keskarrah between them knew the land, each name a story complete in their heads. Keskarrah could see, there, in the shape and turn of an eddy, the broken brush at the last edge of the trees, the rocks of every place where he waited for caribou, or had been given to know and dream; and Birdseye had walked everywhere — under packs, or paddled, following or leading him, looking at each place where the fell of soft caribou and thick marten or fox turned continually into clothing for People in her hands: in their lifetime of ceaseless travel and thought, the way any Tetsot’ine must if they would live the life of this land.
For how can one know how These English will behave, so safely far from whatever land they have left that they may do anything at all as long as another English isn’t looking; or what they carry in those strange clothes, doubled up perhaps or folded in pleats, and doubtless Greenstockings will be the first to find out, if she wants to. Boy English will keep pretending in his towering black officer’s hat, which makes him almost as tall as the others, will continue to stride between their lodges, point everywhere imperially, order voyageurs to chop down that tree, flatten that log for the ridgepole, set that upright into place, may pretend for ever to own the whole world when his boss, Thick English, is somewhere else; but these women will never again see him without laughter flickering naked behind their eyes.
In the sinking light the caribou cow uncovered their afternoon food along a tilted esker, between erratics and the last dwarves of the treeline. Her yearling calf crowded down into the craters she dug, so tightly against her that sometimes he tore away from her teeth and lips the crusted lichen she unerringly smelled under the snow. As he had done all winter, his body filling out powerfully into the length of his legs, into his muscled endurance. He was a thick, solid warmth now, holding tight against her, and sometimes he thrust his head up between her hind legs, nosing for the comfort of her teats, but she bumped him away.