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Clark, Joan.

Toronto, Macmillan. 1988. 288pp. cloth. $19.95. ISBN 0-7715-9281-7. CIP

Adult/ Secondary
Reviewed by Mollie Hooper

Volume 16 Number 5
1988 September

The Victory of Geraldine Gull is a compassionate novel revolving around the lives of the Cree who live in Niska, a village on the northern shores of Hudson Bay. Willa, a white art teacher from "outside"; Patrick Eagle, a native of Niska who went "outside" and came back as a teacher; Father Aulneau, frail Catholic priest not suited to this mission; George Kostuik, Hudson's Bay manager; and Xavier Hunter, chief of the tribe, represent the many facets of a tribal struggle for survival. Geraldine Gull, an Ojibwa woman whose violent unpredictability and contempt for the Cree lead her to acts of terrorism against them, is the melding factor of the story. Her one goal is to see the works of her artist son, the painter Alexander Bear, receive recognition.

Using biblical symbolism (the flood), native myth and legend, personal letters and diaries, Joan Clark reveals the hardships and precariousness of northern native life. Her vivid use of words brings her characters to life. The ending leaves us with a message of hope and of the dignity of self-determination.

Well bound, with readable print on good quality paper, this book should be in all high schools and public libraries.

Mollie Hooper, Qualicum Beach, B.C.
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