Frank Christopher Busch’s novel Grey Eyes is a compelling book inspired by the author’s experiences interviewing hundreds of survivors during the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement. The author bravely addresses fear, guilt, and unfathomable pain with poetic storytelling to deeply emotional results.
In the distant past or future (the author leaves this to the reader’s imagination), the Nehiyawak people welcome the birth of a Grey-Eyed boy, a trait revered for its power, but not seen for three generations. Hope is renewed for the vulnerable Bear clan as they put their faith in this unexpected protector.
The Grey-Eyed boy comes of age and learns about his aboriginal culture under the teachings of a wise elder and the unity of a devoted family, but turmoil exists within the Nehiyawak and threatens its future. Good and evil are at odds as the Grey-Eye and the Red-Eye, the foe of the Nehiyawak people, hone their powers for selfless versus selfish pursuits.
Elements of the story, such as the origin of the Red-Eye, are defined in such a relatable way that it is accessible to all. Expectation and burden, life and death, fear and bravery – all combine to weave a suspenseful, fast-paced tale.
Whether Grey Eyes takes place during pre-European contact in North America or in a post-apocalyptic setting is up to you, but either way it’s equally fascinating. The heart of this novel is in its message: truth breeds freedom, inner-harmony is ours to discover, and collective healing moves mountains.