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Lee Maracle

Vancouver, Press Gang Publishers, 1990. 143pp, paper, $10.95
ISBN 0-88974-023-2. CIP

Grades 10 and up/Ages 15 and up
Reviewed by Anne Kelly.

Volume 19 Number 3
1991 May

Sojoumer's Truth is a collection of short stories told by a master story­teller. Lee Maracle describes the experiences of native Canadians struggling to live in white man's society so vividly, so realistically, that it is hard to believe that it is fiction. Several times, as in the story "Polka Partners, Uptown Indians and White Folks," I found myself double-chocking the name of the protagonist to confirm that Maracle was not writing about herself. The urban settings were solid enough for the reader to feel really there, and yet they only served as backdrops to the dramas that were played out.

The issues presented in the stories were also very real, and sad. They told of death, of surrender and defeat, of abuse and madness. Yet Maracle's stories were not bitter and depressing. Many of the stories were resigned, as if she has accepted the state of inter-racial affairs. Others were hopeful, showing that slow but steady progress has been made. All of the stories are honest and unadorned; all hint that the truth must be faced and accepted before conditions can change. A quotation from the title story "Sojourner's Truth" sums up Maracle's basic theme: "[The butchery] ends when the body of people stop hiding from the truth of the spirit."

Sojourner's Truth is an excellent book. It forces the reader to face inter-racial issues and to accept that native people are struggling and in many ways dying in modern society. Yet by not laying blame, it offers hope. This book is required reading for anyone with an interest in multicultural relations.

Anne Kelly, Dartmouth, N.S.
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