Birdie is a darkly comic and moving first novel about the universal experience of recovering from wounds of the past, informed by the lore and knowledge of Cree traditions. Bernice Meetoos, a Cree woman, leaves her home in Northern Alberta following tragedy and travels to Gibsons, BC. She is on something of a vision quest, seeking to understand the messages from The Frugal Gourmet (one of the only television shows available on CBC North) that come to her in her dreams. She is also driven by the leftover teenaged desire to meet Pat Johns, who played Jesse on The Beachcombers, because he is, as she says, a working, healthy Indian man. Bernice heads for Molly’s Reach to find answers but they are not the ones she expected.
With the arrival in Gibsons of her Auntie Val and her cousin Skinny Freda, Bernice finds the strength to face the past and draw the lessons from her dreams that she was never fully taught in life. Part road trip, dream quest and travelogue, the novel touches on the universality of women’s experience, regardless of culture or race.
About the Author
Tracey Lindberg is a citizen of As’in’i’wa’chi Ni’yaw Nation Rocky Mountain Cree and hails from the Kelly Lake Cree Nation community. She is an award-winning writer for her academic work and teaches Indigenous studies and Indigenous laws at two universities in Canada. She sings the blues loudly, talks quietly and is next in a long line of argumentative Cree women. Birdie, her first novel, was one of Apple’s Best Books for June, and earned Tracey a spot on CBC’s list of “Writers to Watch.”
Tracey Lindberg’s powerful debut novel, Birdie, is a coming-of-age novel but it has a distinctive way of telling the story, incorporating earthy humour, aboriginal folklore and oral tradition, which contributes a richness and mythic resonance.