Deftly written, gripping and informative. Empire of Wild is a rip-roaring read!
Settle in for an utterly compelling blend of propulsive narrative, starkly beautiful writing and passionate, near dysfunctional love, based in the mixed-heritage Métis community of western Canada.
Empire of Wild is a small book. But it is not a slight book. It is close, tight, stark, beautiful - rich where richness is warranted, but spare where want and sorrow have sharpened every word. And through multiple narrators (including free-floating, disjointed chapters from Victor which haunt every major angle of the plot), disconnected timelines, the strange geographies of memory and storytelling, Dimaline has crafted something both current and timeless, mythic but personal. It is the story of Joan and her love. Joan and her loss. Joan and her family. Joan and her monster.
A blend of close-knit emotional bonds and ambiguous menace... Dimaline's novel is able to take the plot to some unexpectedly phantasmagorical places without losing sight of its emotional core... Stories and their telling run throughout this book, from official histories to tales of uncanny and mythic creatures whispered about late at night... Dimaline here turns an old story into something newly haunting and resonant.
Revelatory... Gritty and engaging, this story of a woman and her missing husband is one of candor, wit and tradition."
The novel is at times sad, at times humorous, and at times terrifying. Smartly written with believable characters, a tight plot, and breathtaking sentences, this is a must-read literary thriller.
Canadian writer Cherie Dimaline blends fantasy, monsters and contemporary First Nation struggles in a powerful and inventive novel... Empire of Wild seamlessly mixes realistic characters with the spiritual and supernatural. As much a literary thriller as a testament to Indigenous female empowerment and strength, Empire of Wild will excite readers with its rapid plot and move them with its dedication to the truths of the Métis community.
Dimaline trusts her readers. Her characters reiterate the importance of heritage, culture, and representation to their careless and dismissive youth, but she uses language that compels everyone to take heed - native or not; old or young... Dimaline has written this narrator as if she is moving from room to room, traveling through the pages: yes, she has seen and survived it all and when it comes right down to it, Dimaline makes it clear that when it comes to standing up for her people, she is wildly excited about the choreography of a damn good fight.
Empire of Wild is doing everything I love in a contemporary novel and more. It is tough, funny, beautiful, honest and propulsive . . . Cherie Dimaline is a voice that feels both inevitable and necessary.
Wildly entertaining and profound and essential.