I found Spring and Summer among the stories of From Ink Lake, a collection of Canadian short stories. From what I can tell, Alice French has written two works, an account of her life called, My Name is Masak from which this story comes and The Restless Nomad. She was born on Baillie Island in the Northwest Territories. In my search for a picture of her, I found a lot of pictures of French Toast as well as French food. There were also pictures of Alice In Wonderland and Alice Munro. Sadly, none of her.
I wish I could find out more about her. Alice French wrote a vividly descriptive account of a spring and summer in the tundra. She starts with the new growth, buds and blossoms. She talks a lot about the birds, where they mate, their particular behaviours. What I found really interesting was her account of whaling with her family and the other families. She describes the process of utilizing every bit of the animals they hunt. Then they return to school and their identities are buried until next year.
As much as I enjoyed the description of Inuit life, I did however, find the story lacking in something. A point, perhaps? Perhaps that was because this was an excerpt from her first book. By being an excerpt is there more that wasn’t chosen to be included in this collection, something that would have made it feel more complete? I didn’t know that it was an excerpt until after I read the story, then read the short bio about her in the back of the book. Going in, maybe it would have changed my feeling while reading the story, or maybe I wouldn’t have read the story. Alice French is definitely worth a read, though I don’t know how easy it will be to get her books.
Visit the host of Short Story Monday, John Mutford at The Book Mine Set.