Into the wood and out of the woods…

Empire of Wild by Cherie Dimaline

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A husband disappeared — or did he?

This is not a typical werewolf story. If you are looking for Urban Fantasy, this is definitely not it. It is a story by an indigenous Canadian writer, based on traditional folkore about the Rogarou (from the French word for werewolf, loup-garou) and then some. And a very real topic concerning indigenous people in Canada today.

I was a little lukewarm about this throughout, but the last third of the novel made up for it. That part was excellent and I couldn‘t put it down anymore. The changing points of view made for an exciting read and the ending and epilogue gave it a great and suspenseful finish.

Things I looked up during my read — from here on there are spoilers:

Here is an somewhat spoilerish interview with Dimaline where she describes how she came to write a novel about a Rogarou: A Native Woman Battles Neocolonialism and Werewolves in “Empire of Wild”

The novel might be adapted for the small screen: Kai Yu Wu & Cherie Dimaline Adapting Horror Novel ‘Empire Of Wild’ As Series With Fabel Entertainment

Towards the end of the novel there is a quote from a poem:

I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
               So how should I presume?

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T. S. ELIOT 

Some thoughts on Joan:

Joan‘s last name, Beausoliel: is that a anglicized version of „beau soleil“, aka beautiful sun?

Joan of Arcand = Joan of Arc… as in: she is supposed to deliver her region and people from the invading mining companies, etc.?

Joan‘s red coat — a hint at Litte Red Riding Hood? Considering some events in this book, it feels like a re-telling of that fairytale, at least in parts. Intermingled with that Rogarou folkore.

“What big teeth you have,” said Little Red Riding Hood her voice quivering slightly.
“The better to eat you with, my dear,” roared the wolf…“

From the fairytale

Bottomline: Lukewarm start for me. Some good characters. Some light skipping of paragraphs. Picking up of steam and suspense with a great last part and finale.

3 thoughts on “Into the wood and out of the woods…

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