Gone Indian, Robert Kroetsch

LIEUT. GOVERNOR OF ALBERTA ARTS AWARDS FOUND. - Robert Kroetsch

“As far as the eye can see the bedrooms are stacked in columns and towers. And all the hard winter long a festival of desire crackles on Edmonton’s metallic air: the whole night is a cold, electric blue. Like winter lightning, yes. People in love making love in bed. And far beyond the city’s sensual iciness is the blackest black horizon I have ever seen, one huge rim and circle of pitch-black mystery. Edmonton the Gateway. The Gateway North…”

It’s cold outside and all my friends are out of town. That’s what I thought as I read this remarkable book. Jeremy Sadness is a New York graduate student set down in Edmonton for a job interview. He’s searching for his essential self – the title, Gone Indian, gives that right away – and in this frontier city he has the opportunity to do that. I’m not the biggest fan of Jeremy Sadness, and I’m not supposed to be – dude’s a jerk. Cheats on his wife, bails on his job interview to go pursue his identity in the wilderness. He’s not good people, you know?

Like all the other Kroetsch I’ve read this month, this book is very much about identity and male virility, in the context of a rather absurd journey. The narrative structure is convincingly weird – it’s a combination of transcribed audiotapes and traditional narrative. I’m hooked, guys. All my friends are out of town, but I’ve got all of these books and that counts for something.

Books Read: 20

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