Books·Canadian

Celia's Song

Lee Maracle's novel follows an Indigenous family’s experiences over several generations after contact with European settlers.

Lee Maracle

Mink is a witness, a shape shifter, compelled to follow the story that has ensnared Celia and her village, on the West coast of Vancouver Island in Nu:Chahlnuth territory. Celia is a seer who — despite being convinced she's a little "off" — must heal her village with the assistance of her sister, her mother and father, and her nephews.

While Mink is visiting, a double-headed sea serpent falls off the house front during a fierce storm. The old snake, ostracized from the village decades earlier, has left his terrible influence on Amos, a residential school survivor. The occurrence signals the unfolding of an ordeal that pulls Celia out of her reveries and into the tragedy of her cousin's granddaughter. Each one of Celia's family becomes involved in creating a greater solution than merely attending to her cousin's granddaughter. Celia's Song relates one Nu:Chahlnuth family's harrowing experiences over several generations, after the brutality, interference, and neglect resulting from contact with Europeans. (From Cormorant Books)

From the book

There is something helpless in being a witness.

No one comes here anymore, just me. I can't seem to resist returning to the place where everyone died. Some insane kind of illness overtook them, burned them with its heat; the monster image disfigured them before taking their lives. It's so quiet. The longhouse is decrepit now. I stand, transfixed. It looks as though a single shingle has blown off the roof during a storm, beginning the process of destruction, precipitating the damage inside.


From Celia's Song by Lee Maracle ©2014. Published by Cormorant Books.

Interviews with Lee Maracle

Lee Maracle's novel Celia's Song is nominated for the prestigious Neustadt Prize. 11:51
Sto:lo writer, poet and scholar Lee Maracle is a finalist for the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, which bills itself as America's Nobel. She sat down with As It Happens host Carol Off for an in-studio feature interview. 25:02
With a career spanning four decades, Lee Maracle is one of the most prolific and respected Indigenous writers in Canada. But when she began her writing career in the 1970s, her voice and her stories were not recognized in the CanLit scene. 9:16
The groundbreaking indigenous writer on why Chekhov is her favourite writer, why Anna Karenina is a "magnificent" character, and more. 7:10

Other books by Lee Maracle