Coming up March 26-29, 2018, CBC’s Canada Reads kicks off with five Canadians (namely a tornado hunter, an actor, a fashion icon, a TV host, and a singer) defending their favorite books during a four day panel discussion in the battle for the 2018 Title Winner.
The 2018 contenders and their chosen books are:
- Mozhdah Jamalzadah, defending The Boat People by Sharon Bala
- Tahmoh Penikett, defending American War by Omar El Akkad
- Greg Johnson, defending Precious Cargo by Craig Davidson
- Jeanne Beker, defending Forgiveness by Mark Sakamoto
- Jully Black, defending The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline
Why am I cheering for The Marrow Thieves? It isn’t just because CBC radio host Shelagh Rogers calls this book ‘one of her favorites,’ or that it won the Governor General’s Literary Award for children’s literature, or that it’s a Forest of Reading White Pine nominee. If ever a book embodies the Canada Read’s theme this year: One Book to Open Your Eyes – it is Cherie Dimaline’s speculative fiction novel set in Canada (Ontario) in a world devastated by global warming.
Against the apocalyptic backdrop of North America now ravaged by climate change, pollution, busted oil pipelines and receding coastlines– millions of people have been wiped out. Those who survive the hurricanes, earthquakes and starvation, are also cursed with the inability to dream – causing madness. The only exception are the Indigenous people who still carry dreams in the very marrow of their bones. In the belief that the DNA of these Indigenous people will restore dreams to the White population, Government Recruiters now track down and harvest their marrow. The captives are held in ‘residential’ facilities. The story follows Frenchie, a teenage Metis boy on the run from the Recruiters, and alienated from his community and family. His luck changes when he is rescued by the elderly Miigwans (Anishnaabe) along with a small band of other Indians from different nations. This small, yet resourceful band head north, using and relearning the ‘old ways’ as a means of survival.
The Marrow Thieves is classified as young adult fiction, but in the same way that Hunger Games captivated adult readers with its action-packed, suspenseful storyline – this novel can add ‘beautifully written’ to its award-winning attributes.
Cherie Dimaline is an author and editor from the Georgian Bay Métis community whose award-winning fiction has been published and anthologized internationally. In 2014, she was named the Emerging Artist of the Year at the Ontario Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, and became the first Aboriginal Writer in Residence for the Toronto Public Library