Green Grass, Running Water | Thomas King

Recommended by: Drew Hayden Taylor

This post is part of the LRC’s 25 year anniversary project. We are asking our readers for the most influential Canadian books published in the last quarter century. For more information, click here.


green grassBooks by their very nature are portals to new places and people. Their function, in fiction anyway, is to provide a venue for travel, to go to places you’ll quite probably not have the time or opportunity to visit. So every time I read a book, it’s like a personal adventure with the author. That is why I remember very clearly the day I began reading Tom King’s new novel, Green Grass Running Water. Like a Christmas day child, I felt a mixture of anticipation and excitement to see what next had sprung from the man’s fertile imagination. I had long been both a fan and a friend, since his more early days of Medicine River and One Good Story, That One.

My first reaction to the book, based on the first two or three dozen pages, was one of concerned disappointment. In those early pages were characters, styles of writing, concepts that were all dissimilar and confusing, even conflicting. My immediate response to my horrified self was, “Oh no! Poor Tom. This makes absolutely no sense.”

For a brief moment, I had forgotten the power of Thomas King’s storytelling ability, and his sheer intelligence in weaving together an intricate narrative. By page 50, I was once again a loyal acolyte. This book is complex, funny, amazing and a few other superlatives. It’s the type of book that once you read it, you wish you could wipe it from your memory so you could start over again and once more enjoy the journey.

This book is a definitely a ‘trapped on a deserted island’ kind of novel.


Drew Hayden Taylor is a playwright, author, and journalist. He is an Ojibway from the Curve Lake First Nations in Ontario. His most recent work is God and the Indian (2014).