First Fiction Fridays: Pilgrimage by Diana Davidson

December 6, 2013

Set in a brilliant northern landscape, Pilgrimage is a moving debut novel about journeys, and women and men trying to survive the violent intimacy of a small place where two cultures intersect. The novel opens in the deep winter of 1891 on the Metis settlement of Lac St. Anne. Known as Manito Sakahigan in Cree, "Spirit Lake" has been renamed for the patron saint of childbirth. It is here that people journey in search of tradition, redemption, and miracles.

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What:

Pilgrimage (Brindle & Glass, 2013)

Who:

Diana Davidson is an award-winning author of creative non-fiction. She won the Writers' Guild of Alberta's Jon Whyte Memorial Essay Prize and was longlisted for the CBC Writes CNF Prize. Her writing has appeared in Alberta Views Magazine, Avenue Edmonton Magazine, Little Fiction and the Winnipeg Review. In 2011, she was chosen as one of Avenue Edmonton Magazine's "Top 40 Under 40."

You can follow her on Twitter here.

Why You Need to Read This Now:

Set in a brilliant northern landscape, Pilgrimage is a moving debut novel about journeys, and women and men trying to survive the violent intimacy of a small place where two cultures intersect.

The novel opens in the deep winter of 1891 on the Métis settlement of Lac St. Anne. Known as Manito Sakahigan in Cree, “Spirit Lake” has been renamed for the patron saint of childbirth. It is here that people journey in search of tradition, redemption, and miracles.


On this harsh and beautiful land, four interconnected people try to make a life in the colonial Northwest: Mahkesîs Cardinal, a young Métis girl pregnant by the Hudson Bay Company manager; Moira Murphy, an Irish Catholic house girl working for the Barretts; Georgina Barrett, the Anglo-Irish wife of the hbc manager who wishes for a child; and Gabriel Cardinal, Mahkesîs’ brother, who works on the Athabasca river and falls in love with Moira. Intertwined by family, desire, secrets, and violence, the characters live one tumultuous year on the Lac St. Anne settlement—a year that ends with a woman’s body abandoned in a well.
   


What Other People Are Saying About Pilgrimage:

"Davidson’s Pilgrimage is a stunning novel that recreates a wild and grim Canada, a time rife with sexism and racism, a time that has been re-written and re-imagined by historians and scholars over the years. Davidson has masterfully turned the tables on these historical “facts” by using them create a fictional world more real than the one found in any history book." —Kim McCullough, PRISM International

"Pilgrimage is a well-written, compelling story, whose characters will haunt you after you’ve turned the last page and set the book down." —Donna Janke, Winnipeg Review

"Pilgrimage is an ambitious, insightful work. Anyone who appreciates regional, indeed Canadian history will easily get cosy in the pages of this novel, an edifying, smartly written portrait of northern Alberta in the 1890s with characters that stick to the bones." —Elizabeth Withey, Edmonton Journal

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Edited from the original post, published on the LPG blog


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