Yes, and Back Again
By Sandy Marie Bonny
Historian Tanis and high school teacher Neil just purchased their dream home on Saskatoon’s west side: a fixer-upper with plenty of character and an abundance of history to uncover. The house, however, also comes with a crumbling ruin of a garage tagged with gang symbols, ... Read more
Historian Tanis and high school teacher Neil just purchased their dream home on Saskatoon’s west side: a fixer-upper with plenty of character and an abundance of history to uncover. The house, however, also comes with a crumbling ruin of a garage tagged with gang symbols, a basement filled with mouse droppings, a mysteriously boarded up attic with suspicious stains marking the floorboards, and apprehensive neighbours who rarely go out after dark. Nevertheless, the optimistic young couple quickly settles in, and when Tanis uncovers a pair of ancient work boots hidden in the attic she welcomes the challenge of finding their owner. Tanis soon makes contact with Celia Tanner, the now-elderly granddaughter of the home’s original owner. Celia was raised by her spinster aunt Phidelma and has very little knowledge about her Métis family’s heritage, prompting Tanis to offer her services as researcher, uncovering details of Saskatchewan’s post-war Métis urbanization in the process. The Tanner family’s history is revealed through flashbacks to the 1930s, told from the perspectives of both Phidelma and her mother Marguerite, and delves into issues such as the continued invisibility and vulnerability of women and the systematic manifestations of racism that linger in the present.Meanwhile, as Tanis and Neil struggle to develop a sense of belonging in a neighbourhood marked by race and class divisions, Neil is thrust into the middle of a crisis. Not only is he facing the stress of his first full-time teaching role at an inner city high school, but three weeks into the school year two aboriginal teen girls have gone missing, and Neil is a prime suspect. As Tanis and Neil each uncover the secrets of their own mysteries, they begin to realize the difficulty in remaining objective when the truth is inherently complex. Yes, and Back Again is a suspenseful and thought-provoking mystery that explores the legacy of the historic marginalization of aboriginal people in Canada as well as the complicity inherent in being part of a silent majority.
Sandy Marie Bonny
Sandy Bonny is a literary writer with an academic background in the earth sciences. She has been mentored by Lynn Coady, Jan Zwicky, and David Carpenter. Born in Ottawa, she has travelled extensively and presently lives in Saskatoon where she is engaged with sessional teaching and laboratory research, in addition to writing and editing. She has published short fiction since 2002, when her story “Mandala” received second place in the CBC Literary Awards. Her work reflects her science and math interests and is marked by both brevity and a controlled ambiguity. Her stories invite exploration of the multiplicity of views that thrive beneath the authority of science as fact, guide, and divination.
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