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Celebrate more than 150 years of Canada with 150 books.

bill bissett Recommends

Kiss of the Fur Queen by Tomson Highway

Kiss of the Fur Queen (1998)


Following the phenomenal success and critical acclaim of Tomson Highway's two plays, The Rez Sisters and Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing, his first novel, Kiss of the Fur Queen, similarly infuses stark realism with the "magic" of Cree culture and blends tragedy with raucous comedy.

Born into a magical Cree world in snowy northern Manitoba, Champion and Ooneemeetoo Okimasis are all too soon torn from their family and thrust into the hostile world of a Catholic residential school. Their language is forbidden, their names are changed to Jeremiah and Gabriel, and both boys are abused by priests.

As young men, estranged from their own people and alienated from the culture imposed upon them, the Okimasis brothers fight to survive. Wherever they go, the Fur Queen--a wily, shape-shifting trickster--watches over them with a protective eye. For Jeremiah and Gabriel are destined to be artists. Through music and dance they soar.

Tomson Highway


In the six decades since he was born in a tent in the bush of northernmost Manitoba, Tomson Highway has traveled many paths and been called by many names. Residential school survivor, classical pianist, social worker and, since the 1980s, playwright, librettist, novelist and children's author.

He is fluent in French, English and his native Cree. In 1994 he was invested as a Member of the Order of Canada -- the first Aboriginal writer to receive that honour. In 2000, Maclean's magazine named him one of the 100 most important people in Canadian history.

He currently resides in Toronto.