Canadian

Kuessipan

This novel by Naomi Fontaine is about life among the Native Innu people in the wilds of northeastern Quebec.

Naomi Fontaine

(Arsenal Pulp Press)

Kuessipan ("to you" in the Innu language) is an extraordinary, meditative novel about life among the Native Innu people in the wilds of northeastern Quebec. Naomi Fontaine, herself an Innu, wrote this novel (in French) at the age of 23; with grace and perfect pitch, she depicts a community of nomadic hunters and fishers and of hard-working mothers and their children, enduring a harsh, sometimes cruel reality with quiet dignity. Pervading the book is a palpable sense of place and time played out as a series of moments: elders who watch their kin grow up before their eyes; couples engaged in domestic crises, and young people undone by alcohol; caribou-skin drums that bring residents to their feet; and lives spent along a bay that reflects the beauty of the earth and the universal truth that life is a fleeting puzzle whose pieces must be put together before it can be fully lived. With poetic restraint and a documentary-like eye, Kuessipan is a remarkable and intimate portrait of a world that reads like no other. (From Arsenal Pulp Press)

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