Medicine River

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9780140126037: Medicine River

When Will returns to Medicine River, he thinks he is simply attending his mother's funeral. He doesn't count on Harlen Bigbear and his unique brand of community planning. Harlen tries to sell Will on the idea of returning to Medicine River to open shop as the town's only Native photographer. Somehow, that's exactly what happens.

Through Will's gentle and humorous narrative, we come to know Medicine River, a small Albertan town bordering a Blackfoot reserve. And we meet its people: the basketball team; Louise Heavyman and her daughter, South Wing; Martha Oldcrow, the marriage doctor; Joe Bigbear, Harlen's world-travelling, storytelling brother; Bertha Morley, who has a short fling with a Calgary dating service; and David Plume, who went to Wounded Knee. At the centre of it all is Harlen, advising and pestering, annoying and entertaining, gossiping and benevolently interfering in the lives of his friends and neighbours.

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About the Author:

Thomas King, who is of Cherokee and Greek descent, is an award-winning novelist, short story writer, scriptwriter, and photographer. His first novel, Medicine River, won several awards, including the PEN/Josephine Miles Award and the Writers Guild of Alberta Award, and was shortlisted for the 1991 Commonwealth Writers' Prize. It was also made into a CBC television movie. Green Grass, Running Water, his second novel, was shortlisted for the 1993 Governor General's Award and won the 1994 Canadian Authors Award for fiction. His highly praised short story collection, One Good Story, That One, was a Canadian bestseller, and his collection of Massey Lectures, The Truth About Stories, won the 2003 Trillium Book Award. He has also written three acclaimed children's books: A Coyote Columbus Story, Coyote Sings to the Moon, and Coyote's New Suit. Thomas King lives in Guelph, Ontario, and is an Associate Professor of English (teaching Native literature and creative writing) at the University of Guelph.

From School Library Journal:

YA-- Medicine River is a small town near an Indian reserve in Western Canada. Narrated by the town's only Native American photographer, the loosely woven episodes revolve around Harlen Bigbear, whose specialty is providing "general maintenance" to his friends and acquaintances. There is humor and warmth, whether Harlen is persuading Will--who is over 40--to play on the all-Native basketball team or to court Louise Heavyhands, or whether he is arranging the lives of his neighbors and friends. Interwoven into the story are the narrator's bittersweet experiences of growing up with his brother, James; enduring the eccentricities of his Native American mother; and wondering about the white father he doesn't remember. These characters all fall within the mainstream of American cultural experience, yet they should expand YAs' multicultural awareness.
- Ruth Melvin, R. E. Lee High School, Springfield, VA
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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