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About this book
At the height of the Great Depression, Cora Wagoner daydreams about abandoning small-town society, religion, traditional gender roles and the rule of her authoritarian father. She longs to study science and math, or to join one of the Indian tribes she read so much about.
Hunter George also dreams of getting away. With the encroachment of Indian Agent restrictions and the looming threat of being forced into a residential school, he keeps himself sane with his grandmother's stories of Wîsahkecâhk, the legendary figure of Cree folklore.
When Cora and Hunter find each other, they will journey through a landscape of nuisance grounds, shantytowns and societal refuse, coming to realize that they exist in a land that is simultaneously moving beyond history and drowning in its excess.
"Canadians are – very belatedly – starting to come to grips with the reprehensible treatment of First Nations peoples in their history and its legacy of pain in the present; Quartermain’s novel contributes to that process."
“Dispossession in various forms haunts this historical novel. Wild longing, tart dialogue, and acute perception bring Meredith Quartermain’s child-narrators alive in their dustbowl world of few options. A remarkable first novel.”
“Reminiscent of Sheila Watson, Quartermain weaves the richness of myth with a parched, impoverished landscape. Enduring family histories sustain two youngsters from opposite sides of the tracks as they converge in a desperate trek through Rupert’s Land.”
“Quartermain handles each character with exquisite care backed with extensive research allowing each to seek ‘another way to be’ so that we can search our own biases too. Written precisely and poignantly, Rupert’s Land seems destined to become a Canadian classic.”
"It’s the departures from the expected that make the story so rich ... The two narrators aren’t at all who or what I expected them to be." full review
"The background of despair is familiar from writers like Sinclair Ross, but the way Quartermain brings an age to life while staring unflinchingly at its attitudes and injustices through the eyes of children is reminiscent of To Kill A Mockingbird. The same innocent intelligence that characterizes Scout in that novel informs Cora’s and Hunter’s acute observations, conveyed in a blend of pitch perfect dialogue and inner voices." full review
"Quartermain's background in poetry is evident in the novel's lyricism. The imagery is vivid ... the picture Quartermain paints will stay with you for some time."
"A technically ambitious novel located mainly in Stettler, Alta., but with an epic scope that includes all of the Canadian prairie lands."
"Hunter is a fully living, breathing character..." full review
"Rupert's Land is as vast as it is packed."
"Tragic, and perhaps redemptive."