Dances with Coyote: Narrative Voices in One Good Story, That One

Maria Truchan-Tataryn, Susan Alison Gingell


This paper argues that the narrative voices of the ten stories in Thomas King's collection One Good Story, That One require of readers the exercise of what Kimberly Blaeser calls response-ability, here figured as dancing with Coyote, and indicate in both stylistic and thematic ways King's engagement with Aboriginal oral tradition. In what the authors argue are the interfusional stories in the collection, King's range of stylistic features (including using words to focus attention in the manner of an oral storyteller, reduplication, and fragmentary syntax) position readers to hear in their mind's ear an Aboriginal storytelling voice and sometimes requiring them to read aloud in order to make sense of the words on the page; thus those who do respond to the invitation to join the fictional community can at times become reader-listener-speakers. Stories narrated in a way more familiar to readers of Western literature cue the re-constitution of the non-Aboriginal reader thro ugh a subversive humour that encourages them to see things from an Aboriginal perspective. Several of the stories thematize the vitality and persistence of oral tradition while also indicating non-Aboriginal people's too frequent dismissal of discourse they do not understand. The article blends a conversational with an academic style as a tribute to King's way of textualizing orality while also remaining aware that academic discourse permits critics to say some things that would sound foreign to the colloquial voice.


Aboriginal textualized orality and oral storytelling; Thomas King

Full Text: