I enjoy reading novels and books based on history. However this one I could not even make it halfway through. There were pieces of the story that were irking me constantly as I read. It was a historical representation that was simply flawed. After not being able to get past those things I gave up on trying to read the book.
Fascinating and nuanced look at the early time of French colonisation, when Natives were still equal partners to the French, just before disease started wiping out entire villages. The portrayal of Algonquin culture is very well researched and doesn't fall in the trap of romanticisation or idealisation. The author does a good job of bringing us in the head of a Jesuit and showing how strange Christian thinking was to Natives. Interesting also was how the importance of dreams for Natives clashed with Christian beliefs. The use of the word Savages, to me, made sense as this was the way they were perceived by the Jesuits, and modern terminology would have sounded totally anachronistic. I grew up in Quebec and even my grand-parents and some little educated relatives were still using that term.
Although I was offended by the constant referral to "Savages", I did find this book a good read and an excellent refresher in Canadian history.
The book wasn't as good as the movie. Brian Moore, (the author and who immigrated from Belfast to Canada) frequently refers to the Algonkin indians as savages. I wonder sometimes how he would feel if someone wrote a book about Episcapol or Presbityrian missionaries in Ireland and refered to the Irish in dejecting terms?
The Book also portrayed the indians in a negative fashion nevermind that the majority of French at that time adopted their customs to survive the harsh climate. Moore seems to forget that the iron age gunpowder wielding French and their ways were strange and still new to the Algonkin and that while the Iroquois may have been warmongering there were equally unsavory groups in Europe at that time.
This particular novel was just a tad too dull to captivate one's attention. Unlike his other novels, I couldn't stick with Black Robe long enough to finish more than a couple of chapters. Perhaps I didn't give it enough of a chance.
After "Lies of Silence" which I enjoyed, I tried this Moore book. I was disappointed. It was kind of boring, although interesting from a historical point of view at times.
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