It’s been a hot minute since I’ve written a Featured Read article, but I am beyond excited to tell you all about this week’s feature, Thomas King‘s Indians on Vacation.
If you follow us on Twitter (or me on Twitter!), you will know that I am a massive Thomas King fan. I first read The Inconvenient Indian approximately 500 years ago when I was still in undergrad, and his works followed me throughout the course of my schooling. I went on to read a number of his short stories in my year program, I circled back to write a paper on “The One About Coyote Going West”, I staff picked Coyote Tales when I was still working at Indigo, and my office partner in grad school used The Inconvenient Indian to write her Master’s thesis! All of this to say if I were to claim that I’ve been a fan for a long time, it would be a little bit of an understatement.
When I found out that Thomas King was releasing a new book, I put everything I was watching and reading and listening to aside and dove headfirst into the manuscript. Let’s start with a quick plot description, shall we? Inspired by a handful of old postcards sent by Uncle Leroy nearly a hundred years earlier, Bird and Mimi, the hilarious and loveable married couple at the heart of the novel, travel to Prague (in present day!) to trace Mimi’s long-lost uncle’s journey and track down the family medicine bundle he took with him when he left for Europe. Seems straightforward enough, right?
Well, that’s because it is that straightforward! One of the most beautiful things about this novel is just how accessible it is. Yes, Thomas King addresses very complex subjects in this novel – the global refugee crisis and Canada’s history of Indigenous genocide, to name just a few – but he does it in a way that inspires true conversation and dialogue. When I finished this book, I immediately reached out to my colleagues at work to discuss it, because it is just that good. Oh, and I’d be truly selling it short if I didn’t talk about just how funny it is. There were multiple times throughout the book where Bird and Mimi’s banter had me in tears from laughing so hard. There are not enough words out there that will demonstrate just how much I love this book.
Remember at the top of the post when I mentioned how big of a fan I am of Thomas King‘s writing? Well, get ready for the hottest take of all, because it’s coming your way… As much as I love all of his other stories, Indians on Vacation might just be my favourite. That’s right, I went there. I promise you, Savvy Readers, it’s that good. Check it out for yourself if you don’t believe me, I dare you. But just a warning: you’re going to fall in love with a truly lovely fictional couple.