Joan has been searching for her missing husband, Victor, for nearly a year—ever since that terrible night they’d had their first serious argument hours before he mysteriously vanished. Her Métis family has lived in their tightly knit rural community for generations, but no one keeps the old ways, until they have to. That moment has arrived for Joan.
... a powerful and inventive novel ... seamlessly mixes realistic characters with the spiritual and supernatural. As much a literary thriller as a testament to Indigenous female empowerment and strength, Empire of Wild will excite readers with its rapid plot and move them with its dedication to the truths of the Métis community.
Francophone readers may note the similarity between the rogarou and the loup-garou, but Dimaline’s narrative treads far from werewolf clichés ... old tropes take on a philosophical dimension ... in maintaining its focus primarily on Joan’s very grounded love for her husband and family, Dimaline’s novel is able to take the plot to some unexpectedly phantasmagorical places without losing sight of its emotional core ... Dimaline here turns an old story into something newly haunting and resonant.
And Dimaline writes out their love story in thick, physical prose, with a smothering closeness that is so warm, charged and profoundly personal that it is almost claustrophobic ... Down in its bones, Empire Of Wild is a monster story. Mythic but not epic, swimming in Indigenous medicine, not magic ... It is tight, stark, visceral, beautiful — rich where richness is warranted, but spare where want and sorrow have sharpened every word ... Dimaline has crafted something both current and timeless, mythic but personal.