Darlene Quaife

Bone Bird


Bone Bird  Bone Bird  received a Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book.

"Darlene Quaife has provided a novel that is timely, sensitive, and imaginative, but still makes the reader face the harsh realities of today.

The profound strength of native spirituality lies at the heart of this eloquently written novel, a strength expressed by the Bone Bird, a mystic creature that can bring either death or -- for those who survive its meeting -- new courage and wisdom.

Aislinn Cleary has grown up in Tanis Bay, a Vancouver Island logging town where people from many places have made a community together. Now, as the logging comes to an end, the town is facing its death, and Aislinn, bound to Tanis Bay by the family store and her ailing mother, sees her future slipping away too.

But as the town struggles to create hope from its troubles, Aislinn's grandmother, Teodora, a native medicine woman, passes on to her the teachings of the Woman's Clan, and with them the courage to seek possibilities -- and the destiny -- that await her.

Through Quaife's culturally diverse characters and their conversation, her settings, and her mythology we are led toward her main theme—that our society should begin to face reality about the environment.

As we read this far-seeing novel, we can see that instead of staking out our territories, we should be sharing our cultures. Quaife accomplishes this with vivid detail, pithy dialogue, and a deft blending of realism and imagination."

(Book Review, CM Archive




Night rain in the winter drones everyone deeper into sleep. Spring rain drives nails through dreams. On this serrated coast at the edge of the world, the first spring rain had everyone in Tanis Bay restless in their beds. Their houses drifted into fog and were lost. But the rain was a clear, hard rattle against roofs and earth. Clean penetration in the dark, rain spiking holes in half-dreams freeing them to seep out and mix with night inside heads meant to rest on pillows. These skulls grew giant cedar, limbs tangled with witches beard, the fog hugging a raven to a branch. And a rising creek, its sound lost, even as it drove out to broken down stone fish traps, looped on the tidal flat.


Who are these people. . .(Download pdf)