River of Strangers
introduction by Alan Wilson
A story of survival, romance and religion set in Northern
Manitoba during the early 20th century fur trade by a leading Nova Scotia writer.
Man-tay-seepee (River of Strangers) is the Cree name for the Churchill River in Manitoba, where this novel takes place. The title sets the tone for this dramatic story, which tells the tale of men and women driving for place and survival in the rough frontier atmosphere of the early 20th century fur trade. Probing the mystery and loneliness of this landscape, the novel tells a complex story of complex men and women -- Innu, Inuit, and those of European ancestry drawn from clashing Maritimes and old-world backgrounds.
A fanatically reformist clergyman challenges the unlicensed ways of a primitive frontier; a Highland Cape Breton hero tries to find purpose and meaning in self-exile from his old life; women struggle for recognition and dignity in an isolated world dominated by both weak and powerful men; and a secret romance threads its way through the story. Frank Parker Day is best known for the broad canvas of his novel, Rockbound, and in this lead-up to his finest work we find common elements and themes playing out on another isolated, powerful stage.