Book review

The year is 1982 in Lawrence Osgood's Midnight Sun and the isolated village of Poniktuk (population 156) exists by and for itself in the central Arctic, virtually undisturbed by intrusions of the outside world. Free of television, telephones, and other modern conveniences, the only real communications come to the village by the almost weekly mail delivered by the "sched," the scheduled flight that originates in Inuvik and touches down at other villages on its way to Poniktuk.

The quiet little village becomes troubled when a white man steps off the sched and stirs up talks of land rights with Simon Umingmak, long-time chairman of the Poniktuk settlement council. Tensions rise as Simon and his 18-year-old nephew, Nate, square off on the delicate issue. When a white woman, the lone survivor of wilderness canoe trip, is rescued by the head of the Hunters' Association and brought to Poniktuk, a teenage girl, fascinated by the stranger, nearly dead from hunger and exposure, starts a cult around her striped tuque.

Then, Aningan, the spirit of the moon, intervenes unexpectedly, a herd of caribou surrounds the village, and Sedna, the spirit under the sea, returns to the world where she left it. In one long bright night, spirits and humans collide with horrific consequences.

An intense portrait of Inuit life intertwined with the rich mystical folklore of the north, Midnight Sun is a powerful first novel by Lawrence Osgood. An original work of fiction by a writer steeped in the mystical culture of the north, Midnight Sun is one of the first works of Canadian fiction to examine and encompass the Arctic's three crucial elements: the landscape, its people and their legends, an enthralling combination sure to thrill and captivate literary fiction and fantasy fans alike.

Midnight Sun by Lawrence Osgood

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Lawrence Osgood
Goose Lane Editions
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Midnight Sun

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