On the last stroke of November, as Nile Nightingale examines a church with a faded for-sale sign, he is startled by a gun-racked pickup barrelling down the country lane. With a sack roped to the roof, it veers past the church and comes to a spinning stop beside the cemetery in the back. Silence, then a thud. With that sound ends the peace he expected to find when he fled the addictions, exhaustions, and legal problems of home by heading north, illegally, into Quebec’s Laurentian Mountains. Inside the burlap sack is the bloodied but breathing body of a teenage girl. Against his better judgement, Nile resolves to treat her wounds and find those who left her for dead.
What We Choose to Remember features a cast of more than 30 characters, whose families arrived in successive waves of immigration. The oldest families arrived during the period of ‘two solitudes’ when Montreal’s population was more than 50% English. They share firsthand accounts decades of political upheaval. The most recent immigrants arrived believing linguistic conflicts were ancient history.
Our story takes place on the Indigenous lands of the Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) nation of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. Tiotià:ke (known as Montréal) has existed as a meeting place of many First Nation peoples, including but not limited to the Abenaki , Anishinaabeg (Algonquin), and the Huron-Wendat. We extend our deepest respect to the elders of these nations and to all Indigenous peoples who carry the history of this island’s land and waters. We also call upon all levels of government to adopt and implement the 94 recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation commission.