- First Nations Literature
A retired political science professor, living on his reserve in Northern Saskatchewan, is drawn into a resistance movements when Canada is annexed by the United States. He must balance the call to civil action with the call to defend Canada with a developing relationship with his lost son and friendships with neighbours and community elders.ReviewLa Ronge writer Harold Johnson is back with his third novel, Charlie Muskrat in which we meet the title character traveling down the road east of Montreal Lake looking to shoot a moose and bring home the meat... Charlie, though out for moose, finds himself all the way south in Prince Albert, and after that Saskatoon...Charlie works his way to Toronto via Winnipeg, a trip to the U.S. border, the Collins Bay Penitentiary, and Trenton, Ont...Johnson has packed his slender novel full of literary, philosophical, and mythological figures, various kinds of reality, some literary tropes, a few jokes, some satire, a few political barbs, a couple of history lessons, and even a bit of post-modernism, which we hadnt seen since the 80s...Johnson, a practicing lawyer and a trapper, in a hunting story that owes something to Don Quixote and Jack Kerouac, takes a look at both white and First Nations ways of knowing. Through his characters antics he inquires as to what gets privileged as Myth and what is relegated to folk tale, what is the nature of history and who writes it, and, ultimately, what is memory for and whose is right, or better. A lot of people are going to a lot of work right now to look for good luck stones in Northern Saskatchewan, but Charlie gladly trades his away to be able to remember his own life. Without some idea of who he is and where he came from, he could end up anywhere, being talked into, or out of anything. Johnsons Charlie Muskrat is clever, literate, and packed with allusion. Open it anywhere and youll catch a funny sparkle among the stones. --Saskatoon StarPhoenix About the AuthorHarold Johnson was born and raised in northern Saskatchewan. He is the author of three novels, all set aginast a background of traditional cree mythology. Johnson practises law in La Ronge, Saskatchewan, balancing this with operating the family's traditional trap line using a dog team.
I open my eyes in the darkness, laying on my side, half my vision is of the earth and shadows; the other is of the sky, treetops, and stars. I should write Clifford's story. The thought emerges fully formed . . . The thought dissipates. I close my eyes and the earth and the sky disappear. The warmth of my sleeping bag wraps around me and sleep pulls me under into that half-world where reality and fantasy mingle in a place where coherent thoughts disintegrate.When Harold Johnson returns to his childhood home in a northern Saskatchewan Indigenous community for his brother Clifford's funeral, the first thing his eyes fall on is a chair. It stands on three legs, the fourth broken off and missing. So begins a journey through the past, a retrieval of recollections that have too long sat dormant. Moving from the old family home to the log cabin, the garden, and finally settling deep in the forest surrounding the property, his mind circles back, shifting in time and space,...