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A Grandmother Begins the Story: A Novel de…
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A Grandmother Begins the Story: A Novel (edició 2023)

de Michelle Porter (Autor)

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1027269,617 (4.11)1
"The story of the unrivaled desire for healing and the power of familial bonds across five generations of Maetis women and the land and bison that surround them"--
Títol:A Grandmother Begins the Story: A Novel
Autors:Michelle Porter (Autor)
Informació:Algonquin Books (2023), 336 pages
Col·leccions:Digital Collection

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A Grandmother Begins the Story de Michelle Porter

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Es mostren 1-5 de 7 (següent | mostra-les totes)
I listened to this book, and it is told by a wonderful cast of Native American readers. The story rotates among the different points of view, from the Métis women, to the bison, to Gen's dogs, and the Grasslands themselves, exploring all the trauma they each have gone through. A very good read, and well worth listening to, if you can. ( )
  sawcat | May 6, 2024 |

A Grandmother Begins the Story by Michelle Porter is an evocative novel that will stay with you long after you have finished reading. A multigenerational family saga that follows five Métis women, whose distinct voices tell a poignant tale of generational trauma, neglect, abuse, loss, grief, broken relationships, resilience, identity and legacy. Interspersed throughout the narrative are the perspectives of canine friends and the story of a bison calf and her offspring both of which enrich the narrative, emphasizing the deep connection between all living beings, those we have lost and the world we inhabit.

Carter, a recently separated mother of one, is struggling to pick up the pieces when she hears from her maternal grandmother Lucie, whom she never met. Lucie requests her assistance to pass on to the Afterlife. Given up for adoption by her biological mother, Allie, with whom she has recently reconnected, Carter has a strained relationship with her adoptive mother and is intrigued by her grandmother’s request. We also meet the aging Genevieve, haunted by her memories and unable to let go of her deceased sibling in whose presence and influence she finds the strength to rebuild her life despite her failing health after a lifetime of loss and addiction. Mamé, observes all of her descendants from the Afterlife and strives to move on from her connections to the living world but knows that she also has a part to play to enable all these women to move on from the trauma they have individually endured and all that is holding them back from a brighter future.

“It’s not about me, not anymore. It’s not like that. Up here the stories are us and we are the stories, every single one of them. Took me a long time to make my way here and now it’s almost my turn to be the stories—or to tell the stories, as we used to say before we passed.”

Beautifully written and thought-provoking with a blend of lore and magical realism, this is an immersive, albeit slower-paced novel. Initially, the narrative might seem a tad disjointed, but the author deftly weaves the multiple threads of this story into a coherent narrative. Each of these characters and their stories will strike a chord in your heart. Please note that this is an emotionally heavy read touching upon several sensitive topics, including the death of a loved one, abuse, addiction and domestic violence, among others.

Overall, I found this novel to be a compelling read that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to those who would be interested in character-driven indigenous fiction. This was my first time reading Michelle Porter, but it surely won't be my last.

Finally, that cover art deserves all the stars!

“But regret is worth nothing because you can’t be walking all the paths or you wouldn’t be walking any path at all."

Many thanks to Algonquin Books for the digital review copy via NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own. ( )
  srms.reads | Mar 18, 2024 |
Buffalo Gals
Review of the Algonquin Books hardcover edition (November 7, 2023).

I wish I had loved this more, especially after the glowing 5-star reviews from GR Friends Jodi and ShirleyNature. Partly it was the confusion of the five generations of women told in very brief vignettes and trying to sort out who is who. Be sure to read the synopsis first and you’ll likely have less confusion with that (I had plunged right in without it). The human stories were interspersed with those of dogs and buffalos. Then it gets into magic realism, with women either turning into buffalos or perhaps reincarnated as buffalos. You just gotta roll with it.

I was also (perhaps unnecessarily) somewhat distressed about the possible fates of the animals involved, especially when they’re portrayed as anthropomorphic (i.e. thinking like humans). Dogs are abandoned at the kennel/pound and I kept wondering if they would be euthanized. The buffalos are subject to possible hunting or other deprivations. Most of those situations turned out reasonably well, but the tension of it was with me throughout. I have a tendency to really turn on a book when it seems animals are unnecessarily exploited. That wasn’t the case here, but I was dreading it for the longest time.

Still, the ambition and the sheer scope of it makes it a 4-star read regardless. My enjoyment of the associated music (see below) being a huge bump-up factor.

I had the most fun on the soundtrack for this book, searching for various versions of the Red River Jig, the tune & dance which is mentioned throughout the novel. My favourites were the one with Derek Dick (dance) and Caitlin Armstrong (fiddle) and the Instruction Video at the Surrey Fusion Festival. ( )
  alanteder | Jan 20, 2024 |
Heavy topics, but very well written. The addition of the buffalo's story elevated it to literary fiction and left a lot to be pondered. Would make a great book club discussion book. The heavy topics weren't overly-graphic, it was more part of the history of the characters and the trauma/experiences that had shaped their lives. ( )
  monnibo | Jan 3, 2024 |
The poetic narration of A Grandmother Begins the Story by Michelle Porter is in keeping with the author's background in poetry and as a Métis storyteller. The jarring note in these stories is the abundant use of cursing and a significant focus on the men. However, the "what" of this story fades in comparison to the "how" and the melody of this crooked jig. It is a fascinating introduction to Métis storytelling and this author's debut work of fiction.

Read my complete review at

Reviewed for NetGalley and a publisher’s blog tour. ( )
  njmom3 | Dec 20, 2023 |
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"The story of the unrivaled desire for healing and the power of familial bonds across five generations of Maetis women and the land and bison that surround them"--

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