Auric Plamondon’s novel “Takawan” is more than just a crime thriller: in it the author reports on the dark sides of Migma’s world and Canadian indigenous politics
By Monica Grosche
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It is June 11, 1981. A perfectly normal day, on which Migmac, who has been living from salmon fishing for thousands of years, once again laid his net. And a very special day for Océane, as it is his 15th birthday. But only for this reason, the day will be lit up in her and the other members of the Migmak: when Oken and his schoolmates take the school bus towards the reserve, the vehicle is stopped on a bridge. From there you can see the police seizing the fishing net in a brutal raid. Of course fishermen do not accept this without resistance, many of them arrested and even deaths. But that’s not all: A short time later, Oken was found seriously injured in the woods by former Ranger Ives Lecler, then raped several times by police officers.
Lechler, who left his service because he could not bear how Migmak is harassed in the autonomous tribal area, wants to help the injured and traumatized girl. He decides to investigate the culprits himself. He is supported by Mi’gmaq William, who lives in the wilderness as a godmother, and ex-girlfriend Caroline, an unaffected young teacher from France. The more the three are investigated, the more they discover a network in which the regional police are also involved, and they discover that Okane is still very much in danger …
So what is the plot of a crime thriller Takwan Quickly sketched. But the novel, whose background is based on the actual events of the so-called “Salmon Raid” in 1981, despite its brevity – just 200 pages – provides a deeper insight into Mi’gmaq’s current and historical life situations. Their centuries old culture. Author Eric Plamondon, himself a native of Quebec, relates this to the history of colonization in eastern Canada and the struggle for cultural and political freedom of the “First Nation”, before the colonists claimed control over themselves and Settled the vastness of Canada. Torn from living place
Given the range of themes, it is hardly surprising that the novel does not follow a tight narrative style. Instead, many interpretations are inserted into the crime story like a collage. In addition to short chapters on the history of Quebec and discrimination against indigenous populations, there are documentaries on the subject of salmon fishing as well as reflections on Canadian domestic politics or the myths and stories of Mi’gmaq. Interestingly, one does not find these frequencies disturbing, although they do not advance the story of crime, as the author has such versatile insights into Canadian politics in the 1980s and the socio-economic status of the indigenous population. Provides.
However, with so much different material, the design of the characters falls off the edge. These act more as “stewards” who represent different aspects of the novel rather than as independent personalities. The reader hardly learns anything about his inner workings; Oaken remains particularly passive and in his victim role from beginning to end, so that his self-empowerment does not necessarily manifest at the end. But this is not of great importance, as Plamondon knows how to break the boundaries of crime fiction and play with common narratives that he does not run the risk of endangering the reader’s interest. An interesting and brave novel that will follow more than expected.