Tag Archives: residential school

Sunday Morning Stranger in Your Bed: Tomson Highway

Tomson Highway

Another novelist makes his way into your bed this Sunday morning. They have a sneaky way of doing that, Tricksters that they are. Lured into their stories, you take them to bed with you on Saturday night and fall asleep with them in your arms. In the morning, they’re waiting patiently, always ready for another go. But you’re probably not, and resent how insatiable they can be. Maybe you’ll remember to sleep with them again next Saturday night. Maybe not.

Tomson Highway is known predominantly for being a playwright, but I have never read any of his plays. I have only read his novel Kiss of the Fur Queen—a book which made me cry while reading it and even when trying to explain it to others. The novel is based on his experience of going to a residential school as a Cree child in Manitoba and the effect of the school on his life and on his brother’s.

During one of my crying bouts when first reading Kiss of the Fur Queen on a Greyhound bus, I wrote in my journal: “Someday I hope to move a reader to tears not simply because a story is sad, but because of the honest depiction of emotion. I have been that reader for Highway tonight. I should thank him.” Later that year, I had the chance to cry with laughter at a speech he gave at UBC, and, after drying my eyes, to thank him.

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