Crow Winter by Karen McBride
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
So I just sent this to Karen McBride on Twitter: @kmcbridewrites I just finished your book Crow Winter and I devoured it from the moment Nanabush takes over in chapter 8 to the end. I haven’t had such a big crying cathartic end to a book in a loooong time. Thank you. So satisfying. I believe every word. Miigwetch.
I picked this book out because it’s part of the Ontario Library Association’s Evergreen nominees for the year. I haven’t read them all yet but this is my favourite so far. I found the first 7 chapters a bit slow, sort of modelling on Hazel’s dizzy return to her home after the death of her father maybe, but once Nanabush takes on a greater role, I was all in and couldn’t stop reading. It’s a great choice for Evergreen and Karen McBride will definitely be on my ‘must-read’ list now.
Not only that but I think it would be a great book to teach to a class! As an English teacher I’m often looking for favourites to add to new perspectives. Since Hazel is just returning to her rez after university, I think it would really speak to the emotions that all graduating students have about leaving their community. The pieces about the Seven Grandfather teachings and the Sweat Lodge protocols would be really informative and lead to a lot of great discussions and special guests. I’ve recommended Medicine Walk as independent reading before, but Crow Winter will definitely also be on this list now.