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Fiction Native American & Aboriginal

A Season in Chezgh'un

A Novel

by (author) Darrel J. McLeod

Douglas & McIntyre
Initial publish date
Oct 2023
Native American & Aboriginal, Gay, Own Voices
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2023
    List Price

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A subversive novel by acclaimed Cree author Darrel J. McLeod, infused with the contradictory triumph and pain of finding conventional success in a world that feels alien.

James, a talented and conflicted Cree man from a tiny settlement in Northern Alberta, has settled into a comfortable middle-class life in Kitsilano, a trendy neighbourhood of Vancouver. He is living the life he had once dreamed of—travel, a charming circle of sophisticated friends, a promising career and a loving relationship with a caring man—but he chafes at being assimilated into mainstream society, removed from his people and culture.

The untimely death of James’s mother, his only link to his extended family and community, propels him into a quest to reconnect with his roots. He secures a job as a principal in a remote northern Dakelh community but quickly learns that life there isn’t the fix he’d hoped it would be: His encounters with poverty, cultural disruption and abuse conjure ghosts from his past that drive him toward self-destruction. During the single year he spends in northern BC, James takes solace in the richness of the Dakelh culture—the indomitable spirit of the people, and the splendour of nature—all the while fighting to keep his dark side from destroying his life.

About the author

Darrel J. McLeod is Cree from Treaty-8 territory in Northern Alberta. Before deciding to pursue writing, he worked as an educator, chief negotiator of land claims for the federal government and executive director of education and international affairs with the Assembly of First Nations. He holds degrees in French literature and education from the University of British Columbia. He is the author of two memoirs: the award-winning Mamaskatch (2018; winner of the Governor General's Literary Award for Nonfiction; shortlisted for many other major prizes; translated into French and German editions), followed by Peyakow (2021) which was also shortlisted for several literary prizes. He currently lives in Sooke, BC, and divides his time between writing and singing in a jazz band.

Darrel J. McLeod's profile page


  • Short-listed, Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize

Editorial Reviews

A Season in Chezgh’un is about the search for meaning and for love, about grappling with history and loss, about creating a future out of quiet daring. I love the elegance of languages and cultures intermingling in this story, Cree, Dene, Nehiyaw, French, Spanish. Beautifully crafted, this novel is alive with dialogue that takes us into the hearts of characters too often left voiceless. Let this book sweep you away.”

Kim Echlin, author of <i>Speak, Silence</i>

“In A Season in Chezgh'un, Darrel J. McLeod moves confidently from the world of memoir to the new territory of the novel.”

Michelle Good, author of <i>Five Little Indians</i>

“MacLeod offers the reader a thought-provoking and immersive portrait of a remote Dakelh community and of James, the driven Indigiqueer educator who chooses to work there—a man who must struggle with structural injustices, conflicting demands, prejudice, and his own divided self. A deeply authentic novel, and one that is both educative and heartfelt.”

Kathy Page, author of <i>Alphabet</i> and <i>Dear Evelyn</i>

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