As long as the rivers flow
Xwi7xwa Library, University of British Columbia

Book > Fiction
Bartleman, James
"The novel follows one girl, Martha, from the Cat Lake First Nation in Northern Ontario who is 'stolen' from her family at the age of six and flown far away to a residential school on James Bay. She doesn't speak English but is punished for speaking her native language; most terrifying and bewildering, she is also 'fed' to the school's attendant priest with an attraction to little girls"--jacket.

Ten long years later, it is an emotionally devastated sixteen-year-old who finds her way home again, barely able to speak the only language her mother knows. Martha hangs out with other young people, and gives birth to a little boy, whom she calls Spider because of a web-shaped birthmark on his forehead. She loves him but has little knowledge or experience of good parenting. She seeks comfort and forgetfulness in alcohol, and Children's Aid authorities in Toronto, a place she has only heard of, take Spider away from her.

When she later gives birth to Raven, a daughter, Martha's mother insists on keeping her in Cat Lake when Martha decides to move to Toronto to find Spider. When Raven turns thirteen, she feels hopeless, rejected by her mother and not sure what, if anything, life has in store for her. She enters a suicide pact with three other teens and is eventually the only one of the group still alive.

As Long as the River Flow is filled with characters one cares deeply about. In spite of its sober theme, it is a story of hope, healing and embracing life" -- Jacket.

More Information

9780307398741; 0307398749
pt. One Early Years, 1956 -- 1991 -- 1. First Memories -- 2 Indian Residential School -- 3 Father Lionel Antoine -- 4 Returning Home -- 5 Change Comes to the Reserve -- pt. two Big City, 1991-2003 -- 6 Leaving for Toronto -- 7 Spider -- 8 New Beginnings -- 9 Different Worlds -- 10 Reconnecting -- pt. three Healing Circle, 2003 -- 11 Back to the Reserve -- 12. Spider and the River -- 13 In Search of Oblivion -- 14 Church -- 15 Healing Circle -- 16 Embracing Life.
Issued also in an electronic format.
First Nations author.


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