AUDIO BOOK REVIEW: Blue Bear Woman by Virginia Pesempaeo Bordeleau

Publication Date: October 15, 2020
Format: Audio
Genre:  Native American Lit
Narrator: Tai Amy Grauman

Publisher: Inanna Publishing
4 hours 45 min
Buy: Kindle | Audio


Blue Bear Woman or Ourse bleue is the first novel in Quebec written by an Indigenous woman. The story of a young Cree woman’s search for her roots and identity, this is also the author’s debut novel, originally published in 2007, and it will be her second book to be published in English. The novel has been described as a “texte de resistance”, showing contemporary Indigenous life and the impact on the Cree of the building of the Eastmain dam in Northern Quebec, posited as “virgin” territory, yet which has actually been part of the Cree traditional territory since time immemorial. In search of her roots, Victoria takes a trip to the country of her Cree ancestors with her companion, Daniel. It is a long journey to the north along the shores of James Bay. Colors, smells, and majestic landscapes arouse memories that soon devolve into strange and hauntings dreams at night. In bits and pieces, uncles, aunties, and cousins arrive to tell the story of Victoria’s family and bring with them images of her childhood that are tinged both with joy and sadness. Guided by her totem, the Blue Bear, she returns home to make peace with her soul, as well as release the soul of her great-uncle, a hunter who has been missing in the forest for more than 20 years.


I was graced this book through netgalley from Inanna publishing in exchange for an honest review.  

This is a beautiful story and beautifully read. Victoria goes searching for her ancestors with her husband Daniel.  What she finds are dreams that start to come true and things that she doesn't know how to explain.  Daniel seems uncomfortable with Victoria's native ceremonies and just goes along with her.  They have a good relationship but her dreams are telling her that she is supposed to be more and she isn't sure Daniel will be okay with that.  Her journey is complicated and filled with struggles. 

I really loved this book.  I loved how the author combined Cree sayings, teachings and language into this book.  Even though this is a translation I feel that they stayed true to the original even including some French. You can't fight who you are meant to be and you will always be brought back to your path.