River Child

Article excerpt

by Eleanor Millard

CAITLIN PRESS, 2002

Review by Helen Fallding

[Graph Not Transcribed]

The Yukon River takes Eliza south by paddle-wheeler to Indian residential school and the highway returns her to Dawson City years later, confused and afraid in ways from which she may never recover.

Yet the river is a comfort to Eliza's daughter Selena, carrying her away from memories of the mother who neglected her and delivering her into the arms of a traditional grandmother.

Interwoven with these archetypal tales of culture lost and found and bodies invaded and reclaimed is the story of a well-meaning young, white social worker who gets some things right and others badly wrong.

Author Eleanor Millard is at her best when depicting the Yukon's famous haunting beauty and the way gossip and too-close ties can suffocate people struggling to change in a small town.

The winter sunrise that is also sunset cuts through pastel clouds, just as Millard describes, before it slips behind the mountains. …