Featured Fiction, 3/31

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I Heard the Owl Call My Name is the story of Mark, who is about to die, but doesn’t know it (the doctor tells the readers and Mark’s bishop in the first couple of pages). An ordained minister, he is sent to the remote village of Kingcome, in order to learn enough about life to be able to die (not that that’s what the bishop actually tells him). The village, in remote northwestern British Columbia, is home to a dwindling number of Native American/First Nations people, who are struggling to adapt to the modern world (the book was published in 1967). But though hard work and his good nature, Mark gradually earns their trust and respect. At the same time, he comes to love and respect them as well. And then, of course, he dies. (It’s about the journey, remember?)

A haunting, melancholy book about life and acceptance. The author, a native of the Pacific Northwest, really captured the feel of the place, or at least it sounds like what I’d expect such a place to be like. Recommended for those with an interest in novels featuring native peoples, good missionaries, or the Pacific Northwest.

Jennifer Stewart