Author of AGAINST A DARKENING SKY, THE EMPTY ROOM, OUR DAILY BREAD, and others. Find out more at www.LaurenBDavis.com. I read as if my sanity depended upon it.. . . oh, wait, it does! Snort.
All the Massey Lecture books are worthwhile, but this is particularly wonderful. Indeed, I found it a brilliant, perspective-changing book. It should certainly be required reading for anyone who cares about stories, First Nations people, history, religion or politics (and particularly the Idle No More Movement). The light he shines on the machinations of government actions in the US and Canada against First Nations people is devastatingly bright.
King, whose novels I have loved just as much, is an erudite, deeply knowledgeable man of great wit, much of it gently subversive. He challenges the reader to open his heart, and ways of listening, by opening and ending each essay/story in the same way. Having had the honor of listening to a number of First Nations Elders and story-tellers over the years, I recognize the cadence and the method of teaching. King begins each piece with a re-telling of a creation story, which I won't repeat here except to say it's turtles all the way down... and ends with this directive: "Take this story. It's yours. do with it what you will. . . But don't say in the years to come that you would have lived your life differently if only you had heard this story. You've heard it now."
This simple sentence is, of course, much more profound than it appears at first reading. We are all changed by every story we hear, by ever story we tell. Stories are, King posits, what make us. They are us and we are them. The power of narrative -- for good or ill -- has never been more evident.
This is a book I'll be reading again and again.