From the accomplished memoirist and former Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario comes a first novel of incredible heart and spirit for every Canadian.
The novel follows one girl, Martha, from the Cat Lake First Nation in Northern Ontario who is "stolen" from her family at the age of six and flown far away to residential school. She doesn't speak English but is punished for speaking her native language; most terrifying and bewildering, she is also "fed" to the school's attendant priest with an attraction to little girls.
Ten long years later, Martha finds her way home again, barely able to speak her native tongue. The memories of abuse at the residential school are so strong that she tries to drown her feelings in drink, and when she gives birth to her beloved son, Spider, he is taken away by Children's Aid to Toronto. In time, she has a baby girl, Raven whom she decides to leave in the care of her mother while she braves the bewildering strangeness of the big city to find her son and bring him home.
Acclaim for the book:
Finalist of the inagural 2013 Burt Award for First Nation, Métis and Inuit Literature.
"As Long As the River Flows casts an unflinching eye on the self-destruction that often befalls residential school survivors and their children... Impressive." (Quill & Quire)
"An extremely poignant novel that exposes the short-term and long-term damage of the residential school system. James Bartleman has skillfully illustrated an unpleasant but inescapable episode in Canadian and Native history and deserves recogntiion for shedding necessary light into the Darkness." (Drew Hayden Taylor, author of Motorcycles and Sweetgrass)
About the Author
James Bartleman rose from humble circumstances in Port Carling, Ontario, to become Foreign Policy Advisor to the right Prime Minister Chretien in 1994. After a distinguished service of more than thirty-five years in the Canadian foreign service, in 2002 he became the first Native Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario. He is the author of the prize-winning memoir Out of Muskoka.