Dr. Mary Lindsay (Mei-Li-Lee), a former teacher and educational psychologist in SD 71, will be reading from her historical novel Potlatch Blanket for a China Man on Nov. 20 at 6:30 p.m. at the Courtenay Library.
What do you do when much of your province’s past reflects male European perspectives and marginalizes, if not omits, the stories of other groups?
If you are Mei-Li Lee, you write a literary history framed by extensive archival research and give faces, voice – agency – to the “societal Other.”
Suspicions of murder force a Chinese would-be adventurer to flee mid-nineteenth century Fort Hope rather than test frontier justice and the bonds of friendship with a Sto:lo youth, his clan and a black saloon keeper.
The adventurer’s salvation begins in a diverse company of mule train drivers and their mixed families and wends its course from Langley to Barkerville and through three generations before a truth and a reconciliation are fully realized.
Unlike other accounts set in British Columbia, this novel privileges non-European perspectives and celebrates the complex alliances among Chinese, First Nations, Blacks, Hawaiians, Mexicans and women.
Voice is given to marginalized communities that are not represented in history books. Lindsay will also be speaking at the regular monthly meeting of the Comox Valley Writers Society on Nov. 21, at 7 p.m. at the Mark Isfeld Secondary Library. Everyone is welcome to either event.