Books·Canadian

Ravensong

Lee Maracle's novel is about an urban Native community devastated by an influenza epidemic in the 1950s.

Lee Maracle

Set along the Pacific Northwest Coast in the 1950s, Ravensong tells the story of an urban Native community devastated by an influenza epidemic. Stacey, a 17-year-old Native girl, struggles with the clash between white society's values and her family's traditional ways, knowing that her future lies somewhere in between. Celia, her sister, has visions from the past, while Raven warns of an impending catastrophe before there is any reconciliation between the two cultures. In this passionate story about a young woman's quest for answers, author Lee Maracle speaks unflinchingly of the gulf between two cultures: a gulf that Raven says must be bridged. Ravensong is a moving drama that includes elements of prophecy, mythology, cultural critique, and even humour. (From Press Gang)

From the book

From the depths of the sound Raven sang a deep wind song, melancholy green. Above, the water layered itself in stacks of still green, dark to light. The sound of Raven spiralled out from its small beginning in larger and larger concentric circles, gaining volume as it passed each successive layer of green. The song echoed the rolling motion of earth's centre, filtering itself through the last layer to reach outward to earth's shoreline above the deep. Wind changed direction, blowing the song toward cedar. Cedar picked up the tune, repeated the refrain, each lacey branch bending to echo ravensong. Cloud, seduced by the rustling of cedar, moved sensually to shore. The depth of the song intensified with the high-pitched refrain of cedar. Cloud rushed faster to the sound's centre. Cloud crashed on the hillside while Raven began to weep.


From Ravensong by Lee Maracle ©1993. Published by Press Gang Publishers.

Author interviews

The groundbreaking indigenous writer on why Chekhov is her favourite writer, why Anna Karenina is a "magnificent" character, and more. 7:10
First Nations poet Lee Maracle 7:30