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Beth Brant

Vancouver, Press Gang Publishers, 1991. 125pp, paper, $10.95
ISBN 0-88974-032-1. CIP

Reviewed by Sharon A. McLennan McCue.

Volume 19 Number 4
1991 September

Aboriginal voices are being heard across the country - in the courts, in the political arena, and in the arts. Finally, aboriginal people are taking the opportunity to speak for themselves rather than through a translator.

Beth Brant speaks eloquently for herself in Food & Spirits, and while the collection is uneven, its best is more than enough to give reason to the whole. The best is the story that gives the collection its title. An old man leaves the reserve to visit his twin granddaughters in Detroit. It is a fascinating story of Elijah Powless and the people he encounters on the bus, at the bus stop, and in a bar where he waits. Funny, poignant, and filled with hope, this story will renew your faith in people.

"This Place" is the story of a young man who has AIDS and who comes home to the reserve to die. With the help of a medicine man David reconciles being gay with being Indian, both of which are a part of accepting the inevitability of his own death.

This book should be a part of any Canadian literature collection. Native and non-native readers alike will be touched by its words, words that will help all readers move toward a greater understanding of the First Peoples.

Sharon A. McLennan McCue, Ottawa, Ont.
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1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


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