All wolves: who hunts who?

All Wolves: Who's Hunting Who?


A Canadian western: the expression is not used and yet it easily applies to Tous des loups, a captivating novel, but which also explores the notion of justice.

Ronald Lavallée, who signs his fourth novel with his simple initial R. Lavallée, transports us to the beginning of the 20th century with All wolves.

We are more precisely in 1914, in the Canadian North. The nature is harsh, the desert landscapes and the indigenous populations wary of the whites who land.

Matthew Callwood arrives there with an unfailing idealism. He had just joined the North-West Mounted Police, the ancestor of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and he asked (his colleagues were amazed!) to be sent to northern Saskatchewan, in an isolated post that every recruit seeks to flee. 

On the contrary, Callwood believes deeply in its mission to ensure that order is maintained throughout the territory, by respecting the local populations and by ensuring that the police officers themselves hold their rank. Well-shined boots, no alcohol, benevolence, but no privilege when it comes to enforcing the law: that's his maxim.

But that's not how life goes: sometimes it's better to close your eyes, especially when it comes to tearing children from their families to send them to boarding schools reserved for young Aboriginals. Callwood is asking more and more questions.

Especially since in the end, there is not much to do. Crime is rare, except for an old story of a murderer on the loose. Why not try to find him rather than twiddle his thumbs during the two years of his mandate? Which is all the more frustrating that in Europe, the Great War has broken out and men like him are called upon to fight, not to watch time pass.

Action and questioning< /strong>

This is how we are drawn into a manhunt that will take place in fabulous landscapes. The author grew up on a farm in Manitoba, so he has an in-depth knowledge of the part of the country he describes. This ruthless north hasn't changed that much and Lavallée knows how to talk about it.

It also makes us go through a whole series of reversals: who is guilty, who helps, who lies, who trap that… We're not sure of anything.

As for Callwood, he comes from a privileged background and is full of good feelings, he doesn't know how to deal with the human misery. Conversely, his two colleagues do not hide their prejudices. Yet they developed ties with the Aboriginals and the Métis. A matter of strength, authority, or a shared familiarity with the harsh side of life?

All this questioning, which transforms Callwood, is as gripping as the action of the novel. It is also sprinkled with historical references, which makes this story of 100 years ago even more believable.

But after all, is life in an isolated community really easier? today?