Longlisted for the 2011 Scotiabank Giller PrizeSet in eighteenth-century Canada, this compelling new novel takes the reader deep into unexplored territory. Appearing only fleetingly in the historical record of the Hudson’s Bay Company are the Native women who lived at the company’s Prince of Wales Fort and served as companions to the European traders -- and whose survival was bound, for better or worse, to the fortunes of those men.
Across more than two centuries, the mixed-blood woman Molly Norton, daughter of Governor Moses and personal favourite of the explorer Samuel Hearne, speaks to us from her dreams. As the story of her liaison with Hearne unfolds, we move toward its tragic consequences. When their small society is torn apart, Molly and the other women find themselves and their children abandoned by their British masters. Now -- in one of history’s cruel ironies -- they must fend for themselves in the harsh country from which their own ancestors sprang.
Unflinching, powerful and rich in moral ambiguity, Into the Heart of the Country explores a tragic meeting of cultures that still reverberates in the present day.