Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 18
- Grade: 12
Alice is a single mother raising her three young daughters on the rez where she grew up. Life has never been easy, but she's managed to get by with the support of her best friend, Gideon, and her family. When an unthinkable loss occurs, Alice is forced to confront truths that will challenge her belief in herself and the world she thought she knew.
Peopled with unforgettable characters and told from multiple points of view, this is a novel where spirits are alive, forgiveness is possible, and love is the only thing that matters.
Reissued with a new story by David A. Robertson and foreword by Shelagh Rogers.
About the authors
DAVID A. ROBERTSON is the winner of the Beatrice Mosionier Aboriginal Writer of the Year Award, the John Hirsch Award for Most Promising Manitoba Writer and the TWUC Freedom to Read Award. His books include The Barren Grounds: The Misewa Saga; When We Were Alone (winner of the Governor General’s Award, a finalist for the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award and a McNally Robinson Best Book for Young People); Will I See? (winner of the Manuela Dias Book Design and Illustration Award, graphic novel category); and the YA novel Strangers (recipient of the Michael Van Rooy Award for Genre Fiction). He is the creator and host of the podcast Kiwew. Through his writings about Canada’s Indigenous peoples, Robertson educates as well as entertains, reflecting Indigenous cultures, histories and communities while illuminating many contemporary issues. David A. Robertson is a member of Norway House Cree Nation. He lives in Winnipeg.
Shelagh Rogers began her career at CKWS Radio and Television in Kingston, Ontario in country music, news and TV weather.
In the early 1980’s, she joined CBC Radio in Ottawa. She moved to Toronto in 1984. In 1986, she interviewed Peter Gzowski about his plans to raise money for literacy. Peter then invited her to read the listener mail on his program Morningside. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
For ten years, she was host of The Arts Tonight, part of the wildly popular Humline Trio on Basic Black and sidekick to the inimitable Max Ferguson. In 1995, Peter Gzowski created a new role for Shelagh: Deputy Host of Morningside. In September of 2000, Rogers began two years as host of CBC Radio's flagship current affairs program This Morning. Her morning time slot morphed into Sounds Like Canada, which is now based out of Vancouver.
Shelagh adds her voice to a number of causes including mental illness awareness, homelessness, homeless youth training. She has been a literacy volunteer for more than two decades, continuing to make real Peter’s dream of ensuring everyone in this richly blessed country has the right to literacy. In her spare time, being gifted with surplus adipose tissue, she is a passionate ocean swimmer and doesn’t feel the cold at all.
Shelagh is the author of Canada, a book of photographs by the great Winnipeg photographer Mike Grandmaison. It’s published by Key Porter. She also contributed to Nobody’s Mother, a collection of essays by and about women who haven’t had children.
Three recent honours mean a lot to Shelagh: the John Drainie Award for Significant Contribution to Canadian Broadcasting, an Honourary Doctorate from the University of Western Ontario and a Certificate for best spring-roll maker and egg cracker from Mitzi’s Sister Restaurant in Toronto.
I felt I was holding my breath as I read, because of the great sorrow, mysteries, wisdom, and love in this book. Beautifully written, and such memorable characters!
Pulsing at the heart of this novel are the warmly rendered inflections of storytelling voices like Gideon’s, at once reflective, vivid, and vernacular. And at the novel’s core, the broken but ultimately healing rhythms of Alice’s 'evolution'—her cycles of loving and suffering, of her family’s living, dying, and ultimately hoping to live anew — bring contemporary experience on the reservation and in the big city achingly, joyfully, and always pungently alive.
Neil Besner, Professor, The University of Winnipeg
Robertson writes feelingly of casual cruelties and everyday kindnesses. The novel follows… overlapping, sometimes unexpected connections of family and community, but it is held together by Robertson’s own voice, which is immediate, unflinching, and emotionally generous.
Winnipeg Free Press
Robertson weaves seemingly separate points of view into a chorus of voices that sings our lost ones home. The Evolution of Alice is a story that uplifts, a tragedy not unusual but freshly told, and a read that will echo long after you’ve put it down.
So many Manitobans have, like a character in an early chapter, only sped by reserves on the highway. Inviting us into a rich community of characters, which stretches deeper than the headlines most of us associate with reserve life, Robertson is doing a service to everyone who calls Manitoba home. And crafting an engaging story of one family’s recovery from loss—at a time when Indigenous peoples are increasingly flexing political, economic and cultural muscle in this country—is a gift for everyone hoping for a better future for our divided country…
Matthew TenBruggencate, CTV Winnipeg
Other titles by David A. Robertson
The Theory of Crows
Engaging With Indigenous Narratives and Cultural Expressions In and Beyond the Classroom
The Great Bear
The Misewa Saga, Book Two
Family, Legacy, and Blood Memory
A Residential School Story
On the Trapline
Ispík kákí péyakoyak/When We Were Alone
The Barren Grounds
The Misewa Saga, Book One