Contact Prints

Philip Kreiner, Author Doubleday Canada $16.95 (243p) ISBN 978-0-385-25102-0
Joe, a footloose and impecunious young Canadian, takes a job teaching Cree Indian children at Fort Henrietta-Maria, a remote outpost in Northern Quebec. He does it, he says, for the money, but eventually he finds himself deeply involved in the racial, bureaucratic and private battles that divide and unite the community. Early on, Joe, the otherwise unnamed protagonist of this engaging comic novel, explains his philosophy of photography: he finds the angle that best reflects his perception of a subject, then shoots it again and again, employing a variety of camera settings. In a sense, the serious shots are about himself. Some them fail, and those he keeps in the contact-print stage, because he can't bear to throw anything away. This more or less describes the format of the book, which is a collection of episodes that do not really developthe narrative just comes to an end when one of the characters dies. In another sense, the ""contacts'' of the title refer to the interface between white and Indian cultures. They touch each other but don't really interpenetrate, Kreiner shows us, primarily because of the resistance of the Crees to outsiders. This book, by the author of People Like Us in a Place Like This and Heartlands, is distinguished by its unfailing geniality of tone, a rare quality in contemporary fiction. (February)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
Genre: Nonfiction
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