Monday, March 23, 2015

Reader's Diary #1133- Kailee Carr: Qu?ušin (Raven)

 

A major reason why I chose this week's short story is because of its traditional spelling, with the question mark looking symbol and the diacritical mark above the s. It reminded me of a very important issue going on in the Northwest Territories at the moment which began when Shene Catholique Valpy chose to give her daughter a traditional Chipewyan name and was told that it couldn't be registered because it featured a glottal stop and could only feature Roman orthography characters. Supposedly our territory has 11 official languages, including Chipewyan. Good for Valpy for fighting this.

Not that that case has any bearing on Carr's "Qu?ušin" (though I'll also note that the em-dashes in the story also show up, for some reason, as different characters, so be forewarned those are not intentional!)

Qu?ušin is about an angry youth who has moved back to his mother's childhood community. Here he meets an Elder who has the patience of a saint, and perhaps not surprisingly, breaks through the boy's defenses. It's simply told, but told in the first person, so simple is fitting (considering the age of the main character). It's got a predictable plot, as I've already suggested, except for the raven character who thankfully adds more emotional depth.

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