Sufferance by Thomas King.
Jeremiah Kemp is a man of few words, actually, make that no words. He literally doesn’t have a spoken line in the book. A uniquely talented man, Jeremiah AKA the Forecaster, detects patterns that very few can. His employer for the last 30 years was the Locken Group, a giant multinational who benefitted from these talents. The problem with the gift of sight is that sometimes we see too much. Jeremiah did.
Kemp now lives in a former residential school which he didn’t buy but belongs to him now. He has no phone, internet, TV or even mailbox. What it does have is a graveyard with 77 plain white crosses on it which Kemp is replacing with river stones that he hauls and engraves, each with the name of a victim of the school. When he needs a break he goes for a walk around the neighbouring communities of the Cradle River First Nation and the settler town of Gleaming.
For a guy who doesn’t speak Jeremiah sure has a lot of people who like talking to him. His neighbours refuse to let him hide in a cocoon and as the book moves along he finds himself being reintegrated into the community he was estranged from little by little, whether he likes it or not.
Kemp’s old employer isn’t done with him yet, however. His last forecast was a list of twelve billionaires seemingly unconnected until they begin dying under strange circumstances one after another. The Locken group needs to find the pattern and “No” is not an option.
Sufferance is equal parts rebuke of things we’re taught to cherish (personal gain, individualism, limitless accumulation of wealth. Greed in short) and celebration of things we should (our connections with and obligations to ALL our relations) wrapped up in a political whodunnit. Well worth the read.
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Place a hold on it here: http://ow.ly/lA2Q50Fe8L8
And that brings us to the end of a week of eliminating any chance Brennan has of anonymity in the community. But seriously, this week-long showcase is an invitation to pick up the words and works of an Indigenous author and allow a kind of internal perspective shift to take place. Mostly, it’s a reminder that our best resource, for tackling anything hard, including systemic racism, is likely right at our fingertips, among us, within our community. The people here. Each other. As I am continually being reminded by beautiful humans in my circle, who have been willing to answer my questions, and provide gentle guidance I’m horribly deaf to, but who keep persisting, it all comes back to relationships. Read the books because they help us relate better (says the book-loving introvert. Ironic, I know.).