First novel by Tanya Tagaq, an Inuit throat singer. She tells the story of an Inuit girl in the 1970s, growing up in Nunavut in the high arctic. At first, she is a girl, and various problems like bullying, drugs, sexual assault on young girls are common. She matures and learns to fight back against her rapists and bullies. She mysteriously gets pregnant and gives birth to two babies, and all three eventually die in the end. A lot of the middle and high school events are familiar to other coming-of-age stories, but a lot is also different: the narrator’s close connection to nature, and the harsh environment of the arctic with 24-hour nights.
The writing is mystical, similar to the Icelandic novel I read earlier, in that there are supernatural things happening, and you’re not sure when you’re in a dream or trace-like passage, versus reality. The prose is interspersed with poetry, and a lot of the supernatural events are connected to Inuit mythology. Overall quite a unique book that gives a glimpse of the Inuit way of life and worldview.