November 3, 2017

Looking Back - Medicine River

Looking Back... In an effort to transfer my book journal entries over to this blog, I'm going to attempt to post (in chronological order) an entry every Friday. I may or may not add extra commentary to what I jotted down in these journals.

Medicine River by Thomas King
1996 Penguin Canada (first published in 1990)
Finished in April 1997
Rating: 3/5 (Good)

Publisher's Blurb:

When Will returns to Medicine River, he thinks he is simply attending his mother's funeral. He doesn't count on Harlen Bigbear and his unique brand of community planning. Harlen tries to sell Will on the idea of returning to Medicine River to open shop as the town's only Native photographer. Somehow, that's exactly what happens. Through Will's gentle and humorous narrative, we come to know Medicine River, a small Albertan town bordering a Blackfoot reserve. And we meet its people: the basketball team; Louise Heavyman and her daughter, South Wing; Martha Oldcrow, the marriage doctor; Joe Bigbear, Harlen's world-travelling, storytelling brother; Bertha Morley, who has a short fling with a Calgary dating service; and David Plume, who went to Wounded Knee. At the centre of it all is Harlen, advising and pestering, annoying and entertaining, gossiping and benevolently interfering in the lives of his friends and neighbours.

My Original Notes (1997):

Very funny. Would make a great movie! A novel about a community in Canada (Alberta) and the Native Americans living there (contemporary time period). Harlan Bigbear is a wonderful "coyote" figure.

My Current Thoughts:

I only vaguely remember this novel, but I do remember that it made me laugh out loud. I read it for a Great Plains Lit. class that I was taking at UNL.


  1. I've never heard of this but it does sound like it would be interesting!

    1. Iliana, you might enjoy it!


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