In 1872, dinosaur hunters become embroiled in a battle over the discovery of fossils in Northern Ontario as their excavation crews are driven mad by a bizarre and terrifying illness. Over a hundred years later, Church and his family show signs of the same monstrous affliction. As he begins to unravel his family's dark history, Church must race to protect the secrets buried deep in bones and blood. A fascinating story embracing Anishinaabe legend, culture, and language, Wrist is set in the fictional town of Sterling and Ghost Lake Reserve, and is Nathan Adler's debut novel. It is the companion volume to Ghost Lake, which won the 2021 Indigenous Voices Award in Published English Fiction.
About the author
Nathan Niigan Noodin Adler is the author of Wrist (Kegedonce Press), and co-editor of Bawaajigan ~ Stories of Power, a dream-themed anthology of Indigenous writers (Exile Editions). He is an artist and filmmaker who works in a variety of mediums including audio & video, and drawing & painting. Nathan is first-place winner of an Aboriginal Writing Challenge, and recipient of a Hnatyshyn Reveal award for literature, he has an MFA in Creative Writing (UBC), BFA in Integrated Media (OCAD), and BA in English Literature & Native Studies (Trent). His writing is published in various magazines, blogs, and anthologies. He is two-spirit, Jewish, Anishinaabe, and member of Lac Des Mille Lacs First Nation. Originally from Ontario, he currently resides in Vancouver.
Excerpt: Wrist (by (author) Nathan Adler)
Wiibidaang, teethLater that day, Church was sitting on top of a pile of tables folded and stacked in one corner of the cafeteria. Lunch at the school always made him uncomfortable, with so many humans crammed together for the purpose of eating, like one beast with a thousand mouths, a thousand tongues, a thousand teeth.Chewing. Chewing. Chewing, like masticating cows with their cud, and seven-fold stomachs working away in unison. A cafeteria monitor walked between the rows like a sheep dog keeping the flock in check.Church watched the other kids and he thought about the sharpness of teeth. You could tell a lot about a dinosaur, or any other kind of animal, by looking at their teeth; you could tell whether they were a herbivore or a carnivore, predator or prey.Hadrosaurids had flat teeth good for chewing vegetation, and tyrannosaurids had blade-like fangs shaped to slice through meat. Humans were somewhere in-between cud chewingand flesh tearing, with flat pointy teeth configured for eating everything. People were omnivores, because if they were hungry or desperate enough, they would eat anything.He thought of Gericault's painting, The Raft of the Medusa. Jumbled, bodies in a heap, the moment of hope, limbs extended, waving down a distant ship unseen outside the frame of the painting. That painting, he'd learned in art class, was abouta sinking ship, and a life raft lost at sea, and the survival- cannibalism which the victims had resorted to in order to survive.Church ran his tongue along his teeth trying to decide whether they were sharper than they were flat, or flatter than they were sharp. He smiled at a passing student and the kid tripped over his own feet and dropped his tray. The kid pushed his glasses back onto his nose with one finger, and then hurried away.It confirmed a theory he had about the smile as a defence mechanism, evolving like claws or thick skin.A smile displayed your teeth, your fearlessness, and could intimidate potential predators by warning them you wouldn't be taken down so easily. Look how pointy my teeth are, howdangerous. It was a promise and a threat. Humans were more like wolves in sheep's clothing, Church thought, than they were sheep.Maybe laughter, by extension, was also a defence mechanism?"What are you glowering about?" The new boy, Geoff Suture, asked. Church hadn't been aware that he had been 'glowering.'"You're sitting here by yourself, and glowering at everyone. You're a real freak you know that?" For some reason, the Neck seemed to have taken an instant dislike to him. Or maybe he took an instant dislike to everyone?"You're one to talk," Church said, smiling. Geoff Suture wore black, his hair in wrought iron spikes, staples imbedded into the rubber soles of his boots like claws."I heard you carry a knife." Geoff said, smiling too, showing off his set of even, pearlescent teeth."Sometimes," Church said. But in his head, he thought always. Inri had given the knife to him as a gift, "because sooner or later," he said, "you're gunna need it."