Book thoughts: The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline

THE MARROW THIEVES by CHERIE DIMALINE, pictured with a cup of Stumptown Holler Mountain coffee and a digestive biscuit.

This book knocked the stuffing out of me and left me sad and empty. Set in a world ruined by global warming, and where people can’t dream anymore, except for indigenous people. As a result, indigenous people are kidnapped and imprisoned in “schools” to extract their bone marrow, which are thought to be the key to dreaming. 

The story is mostly about a group of people on the run from the government. It centers very much on the characters and their stories, and less about the dystopia they live in. It doesn’t quite explain the science or pseudo-science behind the dream-bone marrow link. 

There’s Frenchie, a teen, who joins up with a group of various indigenous people of different ages, led by Miigwans. The narrative of them trying to survive off the land and heading north is interspersed with flashbacks of the characters’ separation from their families. 

I really loved the way that Dimaline wrote her characters and the community, the family that they create while on the run. Her dystopian world is frighteningly real, grounded in colonialism and racial violence of our past and present.