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Jennifer Manuel: Books for Decolonizing

Book Cover The Heaviness of Things That Float

Jennifer Manuel's debut novel, The Heaviness of Things That Float, is about a non-indigenous woman negotiating her place on a West Coast First Nation where she has served as a nurse for the past forty years. Her unsettlement about her approaching retirement is further upset when a young man she's loved like a son goes missing, his disappearance bringing all kinds of stories and secrets to the surface. 


Colonialism is not going to simply fade away on its own. It's not a matter of waiting for time to erase it. Nor is it correct to think that Indigenous people are the only ones who need to be decolonized. Non-indigenous people, too, need to insert themselves into the process by confronting colonial legacies and privilege, by questioning the deeply embedded belief that their ways of knowing and seeing and being are superior, and by acknowledging and honouring how interconnected their relationships with Indigenous peoples have become.

The Heaviness of Things That Float is, at its heart, a novel about decolonization and the moral obligation of non-Indigenous people to take part in this process. Here are some CanLit novels that inspired my writing by offering valuable insights on colonialism and decolonization.

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