SEVEN CIRCUMSTANCES

Book Reviews & Essays on Literature

People of the Deer & Eastern Passage, by Farley Mowat

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People of the DeerEastern PassageGrand old man of Canadian literature dies

May 7, 2014 – Farley Mowat has died, just five days before his 93rd birthday. Mowat was an environmentalist, squarely on the side of indigenous Canadians and an outspoken critic of attempts to impose Western culture on First Nations peoples. And he wasn’t too kind about the Canadian government either. “With People of the Deer, Mowat launched a singular career, advancing the traditions of both exploration literature and narrative non-fiction…This account of his encounters with the vanishing Ihalmiut people during a two-year stay in the Arctic is a landmark of Canadian literature”, according to Ken McKoogan. I read both Mowat’s first book, People of the Deer (1952), and immediately after that, his last, 44th (!) book, Eastern Passage (2010). I found People of the Deer gripping, but also confusing, raising many questions, not giving answers, and at the same time intensely personal, passionate, observant and – in places – angry. (Continue reading…)

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