This teen novel, written by Iqaluit-based Inuit author Aviaq Johnston, is a coming-of-age story that follows a young shaman named Pitu as he learns to use his powers and ultimately finds himself lost in the world of the spirits.
After a strange and violent blizzard leaves Pitu stranded on the sea ice, without his dog team or any weapons to defend himself, he soon realizes that he is no longer in the word that he once knew. The storm has carried him into the world of the spirits, a world populated with terrifying creatures---black wolves with red eyes, ravenous and constantly stalking him; water-dwelling creatures that want nothing more than to snatch him and pull him into the frigid ocean through an ice crack. As well as beings less frightening, but equally as incredible, such as a lone giant who can carry Pitu in the palm of her hand and keeps caribou and polar bears as pets.
After stumbling upon a fellow shaman who has been trapped in the spirit world for many years, Pitu must master all of his shamanic powers to make his way back to the world of the living, to his family, and to the girl that he loves.
A gem of an adventure novel grounded in Inuit myths and traditions...Lyrical writing, a suspenseful plot, and vivid illustrations make this a compelling read.Full of wisdom, earth knowledge, and spiritual depth, this novel captures the spirit of Indigenous leadership.
“The traditions of this Inuit culture wrap Pitu’ story in a reality that needs to be shared with all youth, Indigenous and otherwise.”
“Johnston’s descriptions are detailed and bring the various spirits to life. Throughout the book, there are black and white illustrations by Toma Feizo Gas which enhance the written descriptions and add depth and interest to the story.”
“. . . [A] haunting tale, with both Inuit culture and a ghoulish spirit world explored in a thrilling and arresting manner.”