This is a complex novel in many ways; sometimes easy to read and sometimes more difficult, partially for its content. Drugs and alcoholism are a part of the contemporary Indian culture protrayed here, and it is a depressing reality. However, this book shows not only the starkness but the strengths of what are really, just ordinary people. The structure, of stories being told to and by the comatose main character, takes a bit of getting used to, but it soon becomes easier to follow. This seems a very real book and the voices of the main characters ring true. The juxtaposition of different worlds (city, small Canadian Indian town, wilderness)works well, highlighting the similarities and differences. I found the portrayal of life on the edge of the town and in the deep woods the most interesting, but all of it fits and works together. It's ultimately a book about choices, responsibility and chosing your own place. As an aside, it is rather difficult to believe the photo on the jacket is really the author. The voice in this book seems to speak of more lifetimes than the photo portrays. Excellent story.