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Just Pretending

From one of Canada's most exciting new Métis voices comes a book whose recurring themes include the complexities of identity, belonging/not belonging, Aboriginal adoption, loss and abandonment, regret and insecurity.

A deadbeat dad tries to reconnect with his daughter after 22 years away. A selfish poet has been scarred by an upbringing that leaves him emotionally distant from his children and spouse. A pot-smoking middle-aged man undertakes a modest quest for meaning following a brush with mortality. A fourteen-year-old girl struggles to come to terms with her feelings of abandonment.

The characters are often fragile, sometimes unlikeable, but ultimately can be identified or sympathized with. At the centre of the stories are notions of identity and belonging, and the complex relationships between children and parents, both those who are real and those who are just pretending.

"In Just Pretending, Saskatchewan-based Métis writer Lisa Bird-Wilson offers 24 brisk tales featuring characters asking this question. The title character in “Billy Bird” visits his Mooshum (grandfather in Cree), who is dying slowly in a rehab centre. While he is there, he reflects on his place in a never-ending circle. “His whole family is there sharing the circle with him, people he looks like, people he’s connected to, people whose traits he shares, people whose history is his own, grannies and grampas, Nehiyaw and Métis, all connected by the silky red thread.” Billy has a powerful ache to belong, to know himself through others." - Yutaka Dirks, briarpatch