The hauntingly told tale of a young mother who uses the stories told to her by her Native father to illuminate her alienation and struggle to find meaning in life as the wife of a man with whom she seems to have little in common.
About the author
Joan Crate was born in Yellowknife, N.W.T., but moved to Vancouver after her miner father decided to become a teacher. Because her father taught on various Reserves in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan, Joan grew up in a variety of Metis and Native cultures. She graduated from the University of Calgary with an Honours BA in English and a Masters in English (with Distinction). Her Honours Project, a poetry collection entitled Pale as Real Ladies, was published by Brick Books. She has also published a first novel, Breathing Water, with NeWest Press. She taught literature, including Native writers, for over twenty years at Red Deer College. Crate drew on her first-hand knowledge of and sympathy for Native cultures to write Black Apple, in addition to researching the history of residential schools and interviewing survivors. She lives with her husband and children in Calgary.
Joan Crate says that while her family history is not entirely clear, she believes her ancestors may have been Metis from Manitoba who dispersed east and west after the Riel Rebellion. In her own words: “My dad brought us up with exposure to First Nations and Metis cultures, no matter where we were living, so my sister and I were taken to potlatches, pow-wows, art exhibitions and political rallies from an early age. I would have to say that it’s the cultural exposure rather than the racial and, to a lesser extent, the political that makes me identify with First Nations/Metis cultures.”