Posted July 2020: Link to Post on miramichireader.ca
“Radecki tackles difficult subject matter with grace, and asks tough questions for her readers to reflect upon.”
…The impact of social media is one through line, as are reflections on self-worth and questions of authenticity. Crucially, Radecki also centres a discussion of white privilege and violence against Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit People. As she notes in her acknowledgements, she is a “white, able-bodied, middle-class, cisgender woman” who is working to “understand and resist our systems of inequality”. This transparency is crucial, and Radecki’s approach to Indigenous characters and culture feels considerate and careful. For example, a young Cree man named Gray states, “It might not be the best idea for me to lurk around on private property. You heard what happens out here to kids who look like me, right?” In response, M cringes as she recognizes her ability to unthinkingly move through these spaces without the threat of violence. The focus is often on M’s emerging awareness of systemic racism. She reflects upon the harm of media and police bias toward Indigenous communities and confronts how Canada’s colonial system is engrained in her own understanding of the world. For white readers, witnessing M’s recognition of her own complicity is perhaps the most impactful aspect of the novel. Her story reminds us that we must confront the fact that our identity is rooted in the suppression of others, and find ways to question and challenge our biases and expectations.
While the ending may leave some readers perplexed, Messenger 93 is ultimately a novel focused on unpacking assumptions and facing difficulty. It is also about love, mystery, and growth in seemingly impossible, at times implausible, situations. Centring a cast of well-developed and intricate characters, this intense and haunting novel pulls readers along on a complicated quest, and asks critical questions for readers to return to long after M’s journey comes to an end.