Wwwwwwwww. I devoured this book. It’s very quick paced, which I adored, as I find that’s a reflection of quick wit and circumstance, and the characters reflect that. They are blunt and quick and to the point, even as they avoid certain topics. The subject of water and land cements this work – how Coyote’s gory death is portrayed in the rocks, how the river where the heart mixes has stolen lives and bodies, how a river divides the residential school from the community. Yet as much as the land symbolizes the damage done to Indigenous peoples in this story, it is also what heals them – June is healed when she sits by the river, Christina hears her family stories when she comes back to her lands.
Stealing this description:
“Can a person survive their past; can a people survive their history? Irreverently funny and brutally honest, Where the Blood Mixes is a story about loss and redemption. Caught in a shadowy pool of alcoholic pain and guilt, Floyd is a man who has lost everyone he holds most dear. Now after more than two decades, his daughter Christine returns home to confront her father. Set during the salmon run, Where the Blood Mixes takes us to the bottom of the river, to the heart of a People.” – Talon Books
So the book talks about how these characters were all in Residential School, which was across the bridge, and was so close yet they weren’t allowed to go home. Some would try, others would not. They survived abuse, and starvation, and isolation, and are now just dealing with the after effects.
Floyd was with Anna, and they have a child, Christine. However, Anna deals with depression from the life she has so far survived, and commits suicide by jumping off the local bridge. She leaves behind her daughter, who was a young girl, and jumps before her friend Mooch could reach her.. Floyd ends up losing custody of Christine, and she is sent to live with White parents in other community. This story emergent when Christine makes her way home to finally meet Floyd again, who is embarrassed at his drinking snd lifestyle.
Mooch and his sweetie June are dealing with alcoholism as well. Mooch had been severely abused at Residential school and drinks away any sort of money – grocery money, bingo money. June has overcome alcoholism, after crying while at the river, and is now staying with Mooch, who was also at the river when Anna died. So there is all this trauma heaped on, and they are just struggling to work through it.
Christine ends up chatting with Floyd after a disastrous initial meeting where he is the bar fighting with Mooch. He initially turns her away, but June convinces both of them to meet again, after chatting with them. Christine lets Floyd know that she was okay, that she had a son and he was a grandpa, and that she grew up well. As they come toothier realization, June and Mooch are having their own discussion on the bridge. Mooch realizes that June is afraid that he will commit suicide, like Anna did, and he walks away from the bridge, leaving June to look down on the waters.
Get the Book: Where the Blood Mixes – Kevin Loring