Once there had been a plan to build a bridge, but something went awry. What remains is barely recognizable, and even if the components had once been solid, they, too, are now ruined.
Thomas King does not shy away from talk of devastation and loss, fractured promises and decay. In Truth and Bright Water, hearts are broken and people disappear.
A reader might even say that the narrative is framed by tragedies. But a reader would also have to say that the tragedies do not stand alone.
In the hands of another writer, this might have an air of a conscious balancing act. But in Thomas King’s narrative, it feels as though there is something larger that acts as a natural counterweight, not a specific narrative device, but an overarching sense of grace.
Even on the first page, there is a hint of this in the description of the bridge and the landscape that surrounds its remnants. “But if you walk down into the coulees and stand in the shadows of the deserted columns and the concrete arches, you can look up through the open planking and the rusting webs of iron mesh, and see the sky.”
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