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Synopsis

When I first read the Dracc Dreque manuscript I was immediately struck by its unflinching honesty and its uniqueness. As far as I knew, it was the only memoir ever written by an Inuit and it cut sharply across our ideas about the Arctic. Most of what we've seen, in movies and on TV, represents Inuit culture in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Since then, the foreign rule of a white colonial government and invasive global "realities" have brought drastic changes to that way of life.

Iliarjuk documents the impact those changes have had on individual lives with a vivid, gritty picture of what it is like to grow up as an orphan in Iqaluit, a place that is distant, exotic, but shockingly familiar. There are impressive descriptions of the tundra, the ocean, hunting for seals and polar bears and caribou, but there are also scenes of an intensely personal nature, sexual and physical abuse, scavenging for food at the town dump, sniffing Plastic Wood, nail polish and spray paint, breaking and entering, being chased then arrested by the Police, fist fights, hockey, rock and roll, foster homes, a haunted house, bicycles, jails and department stores.

It's an absorbing read and I've never seen or worked on anything that is quite like it.

– George Amabile, Editor

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