A Deceptive Initiation: An Ecological Paradigm in Howard O’Hagan’s Tay John

by Sergiy Yakovenko

Howard O’Hagan’s novel Tay John has been widely discussed as a modernist work of deconstruction that undermines the established concepts of broadly understood mythology, narrative, and gender. In this article, I focus on one of the previously neglected aspects of the novel’s mythological drama – the clash of the pre-modern and modern ecological epistemai, which unfolds as an originary event of entering into modernity. I argue that the dramatic irony of a recoded indigenous myth introduces the aboriginal Shuswaps to the colonialist perception of the environment, deceptively making them hostages of their own beliefs and thereby drastically changing their temporal-spatial continuum.