In the early s, Oscar Wolf, a year-old Native from the Chippewas of Rama Indian Reserve, sets fire to the business section of his village north of Toronto in a fit of misguided rage against white society, inadvertently killing his grandfather and a young maid. Tortured by guilt and fearful of divine retribution, Oscar sets out on a lifetime quest for redemption.
His journey takes him to California where he works as a fruit picker and prizefighter during the Great Depression, to the Second World War where he becomes a decorated soldier, to university where he excels as a student and athlete, and to the diplomatic service in the postwar era where he causes a stir at the United Nations in New York and in Colombia and Australia.
Beset by an all-too-human knack for making doubtful choices, Oscar discovers that peace of mind is indeed hard to find in this saga of midth-century aboriginal life in Canada and abroad that will appeal to readers of all backgrounds and ages.
Choose a game below, click the button and use the code on your certificate. Shannon Bartkiw rated it liked it Jun 06, A Matter of Conscience. Tortured by guilt and fearful of divine retribution, Oscar sets out on a lifetime quest for redemption. Gail rated it liked it Apr 05, Includes: Seasons of Hope Traces James Bartleman's life from an impoverished Native childhood to being appointed ambassador for Canada and lieutenant governor for Ontario, and how as his career advanced, he mobilized public support for Native education.
Dark humour runs throughout the text. Bartleman especially has fun satirizing self-important diplomats and politicians.
Bartleman acknowledged a dark shadow in Canada's history and brings it to life through the genuine character of Oscar Wolf, a man for whom the reader cheers throughout the story. He must avoid poisoning himself with hatred, Jacob, his grandfather warns. But the scene is set, and young Oscar vents his rage by setting fire to the business section of the Muskoka town of Port Carling, a conflagration that, by chance, takes the lives of his grandfather and of a young hotel maid working in town for the summer.
Befriended by a white preacher and his wife, who see in him a candidate for the ministry, Oscar leaves the Indian settlement and lives with the Huxleys until he finishes high school. Fearful of punishment for his misdeeds and spurned, for reasons of race, by the white society of his small town, Oscar sets out for California. After a time as a fruit picker and prizefighter, he returns to Canada and becomes a decorated soldier during the Second World War, recipient of a medal presented at Buckingham Palace by King George VI.
A successful university career follows and Oscar later becomes the first aboriginal diplomat in the Canadian foreign service. But following disastrous for interesting reasons postings to Colombia, Australia and South Africa, he returns to Ottawa and to what may pass for his longed-for appointment with redemption.
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