Playing Dead: A Contemplation concerning the Arctic

By Fisher, Alfred | The Canadian Journal of Native Studies, January 1, 2007 | Go to article overview

Playing Dead: A Contemplation concerning the Arctic


Fisher, Alfred, The Canadian Journal of Native Studies


Wiebe, Rudy. Playing Dead: A Contemplation Concerning the Arctic. Edmonton: NeWest Press, 2003.149 pp. ISBN 1 -896300-67-7. $18.95

Books about the North constitute something of a genre in Canadian fiction and non-fiction. They provide an important source, particularly for the young, of terms and images with which to define land, culture and nation. Books may be inefficient instruments for the generation of identity in a culture in which the written word is no competition for mass media and the space is as vast and various as Canada. Fortunately, Wiebe's dedication to the written word remains unaffected and he still believes in the potential of Canadians to enrich themselves in a northern identity.

Readers who love the North and cannot abide Canadian ignorance and insensitivity to its own vast treasure, will rejoice in these broadly informed, deeply philosophical essays on land, history, Natives, Whites, and how each has shaped the other.

Wiebe's six essays are all analytical, critical, and reflective. Four of the essays were delivered as the 1987 Larkin-Stuart Lectures at Trinity College, University of Toronto. …

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