Medicine River chronicles the lives of a group of contemporary First Nations people in Western Canada. The novel is divided into eighteen short chapters. The story is recounted by the protagonist, Will, in an amiable, conversational fashion, with frequent flashbacks to earlier portions of his life. In the novel, Medicine River, Thomas King creates a story of a little community to reflect the whole native nation. A simple return of Will's makes the little town seem to be more colourful. "Medicine River makes non-native readers think a little longer and harder about the lives of the first people they live among and the places they inhabit." Although Will enters the town as a foreigner, he eventually becomes part of the community. Medicine River shows the history of Canada and teaches readers to learn from the past experience in order to become better people. Will meets Louise who becomes an unfulfilled love interest that very much represents Will's existence, a series of half-fulfilled expectations. That is, he develops an ongoing relationship with Louise and her daughter, South Wing, for whom Will becomes a kind of father-figure. It has been included on the high school reading curriculum in many Canadian jurisdictions. One advisor writes, "It is a humorously told 'homecoming novel' that echoes an oral storytelling style, yet at the same time, debunks any kind of stereotypical 'cultural voice.' Although the protagonist is a middle-aged man, the novel is appropriate for young people, simply because of the way it is written, drawing in any audience."The Aesthetic of Talk in Thomas King's Medicine River By: Robinson, Jack; Studies in Canadian Literature/Etudes en Littérature Canadienne, 2006; 31 (1): 75-94. There Is No Bentham Street in Calgary: Panoptic Discourses and Thomas King's Medicine River By: Stratton, Florence; Canadian Literature, 2005 Summer; 185: 11-27. 'Stay Calm, Be Brave, Wait for the Signs': Sign-Offs and Send-Ups in the Fiction of Thomas King By:...
Jump up ^ Renate Eigenbrod, Georgina Kakegamic and Josias Fiddler, "Aboriginal Literatures in Canada: A Teacher’s Resource Guide", 2003
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