Inuits live in a harsh place that break some of them and toughen others. Anuka, wolf in her native tongue, faces that test in this compelling story. It’s all the more compelling because it’s based on a real person’s life. It’s not a biography, yet many of the events depicted actually occurred.
Stephen Swartz uses prose to subtly underline the intellectual and social growth of an illiterate girl as she copes with many terrible and some wonderful experiences during her strange life. Initially, his prose is simplistic, almost childish, but is grows more complex as his heroine matures. I liked the technique and hadn’t seen it before. Swartz also uses flash-forwards and flashbacks to good effect which keeps the story moving and avoids what could have been the plodding pace of personal diary.
This is the first of Swartz’s novels that I’ve read. It will not be the last. I heartily recommended it, but not to young adults, because of violence and adult sexual situations.
Reviewers’ comment: I hate star ratings because they are too subjective, but I realize they are part of today’s world. For my purposes the stars mean: 3 stars = average, a fine read, 4 stars = above average, an excellent read, 5 stars = 4 stars plus it grabbed me emotionally in some way.
© 2015 by David P. Cantrell