This dual narrative follows Will Bird and his niece Annie as the two of them struggle along separate paths of self-discovery, both of which are fraught with obstacles physical and emotional.
Will is a legendary Cree bush pilot, lying in a coma in a hospital near his hometown of Moose Factory. His niece Annie, a beautiful and resilient young woman, has returned from trying to find her missing sister Suzanne down south where she disappeared into the maws of Toronto, Montreal or New York, a victim of the drug trade and a career as a high fashion model, it would seem.
At her uncle's hospital bedside, Annie confesses all and articulates some truths about herself for the first time, hoping that all of her chatter will keep Will's brain flickering and encourage him to wake up, a possibility increasingly remote the longer he remains unconscious.
This is a story of traditions and of true love. I will not be surprised to hear Joseph Boyden's name called this week as the winner of the 2008 Giller Prize.