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Fiction Native American & Aboriginal

Kiss of the Fur Queen

Penguin Modern Classics Edition

by (author) Tomson Highway

Doubleday Canada
Initial publish date
Jun 2021
Native American & Aboriginal, General, Cultural Heritage
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 1999
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2021
    List Price

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Kiss of the Fur Queen is a powerful and beautiful tale of siblings and tricksters, culture and trauma, and finding yourself in a world that tries to tell you who you are.
Born into a magical Cree world in snowy northern Manitoba, Champion and Ooneemeetoo Okimasis are all too soon torn from their family and thrust into the hostile world of a Catholic residential school. Their language is forbidden, their names are changed to Jeremiah and Gabriel, and both boys are abused by priests.

As young men, estranged from their own people and alienated from the culture imposed upon them, the Okimasis brothers fight to survive. But wherever they go, the Fur Queen—a wily, shape-shifting trickster—watches over them as they fulfill their destiny to become artists.

About the author

Tomson Highway
Tomson Highway was born near Maria Lake, Manitoba in 1951. Living a nomadic lifestyle with no access to books, television or radio, Highway’s parents would tell their children stories, kindling Highway’s life-long interest in the oral tradition of storytelling.

Tomson Highway is widely recognized for his tremendous contribution to the development of Aboriginal theatre in both Canada and around the world.

In 1994, he was inducted into the Order of Canada, the first Aboriginal writer to be so honoured.

Tomson Highway's profile page


  • Nominated, Chapters/Books in Canada First Novel Award
  • Nominated, Canadian Booksellers Association Libris Award - Fiction Book of the Year

Editorial Reviews

"Tomson Highway's prose is beautiful, lyrical. . . . Emotionally complex, witty, symphonic and sad, Kiss of the Fur Queen is a remarkable novel, filled with blood and guts, life and love." —The Vancouver Sun
"Kiss of the Fur Queen is a novel of affirmation . . . a book full of feeling for the North [that] displays startling human insight. . . . A novel that dances with life." —The Globe and Mail
"Highway's depiction of the brothers' trapline births are among the most haunting and evocative pieces of writing to ever appear in Canadian literature. The playful yet hallowed tone of these early passages is pure magic. . . . The novel remains, at its core, a celebration of survival and of life lived." —Quill & Quire

"In a book that is both hard-hitting and whimsical, [Tomson Highway] offers a soulful look into the often transient nature of identity." —National Post

"Tomson Highway's first novel is made poignant by its passion and pain, but it is rendered charming and magical by a title character conjured up as a fatal beauty. . . . An affecting tale [of] fine satiric sense and linguistic play." —Toronto Star

"Kiss of the Fur Queen is, above all, a deeply personal statement. . . . The writing is superb in this book. . . . Reading [Highway's] prose often gives one the feeling of looking through a spiritual veil. . . . A born story-teller and entertainer." —The Star Phoenix

"[Kiss of the Fur Queen] pulses with life and humour and manages to meld the conventional English novel format with free-flowing fantastical native stories to create a new art form—a sort of Salinger on snowshoes. . . . [Highway has] a way of making words sound like music." —Times Colonist

Other titles by Tomson Highway