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Life in the City of Dirty Water by Clayton Thomas-Muller
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Life in the City of Dirty Water

Best Seller
Life in the City of Dirty Water by Clayton Thomas-Muller
Paperback $16.95
Aug 23, 2022 | ISBN 9780735240087

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  • Aug 23, 2022 | ISBN 9780735240087

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  • Aug 24, 2021 | ISBN 9780735240063

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One of CBC’s:
“Best Canadian Non-Fiction of 2021”
“12 books for the outdoor enthusiast on your holiday shopping list”
“18 Canadian books for the memoir lover on your holiday shopping list”

“[A] brave story. . . . Thomas-Muller not only writes about his upbringing in Winnipeg, which translated from Cree means ‘dirty water,’ he unravels how he began healing by using prayer and participating in his culture. . . . [Life in the City of Dirty Water] is a deep account of survivance against systems of oppression, intergenerational trauma and addiction, and about finding healing and highlighting his Cree experience.”
The Tyee
“In [Thomas-Muller’s] latest memoir, Life in the City of Dirty Water, he painfully and bravely reveals his journey through catastrophic pain, unbelievable odds and a reconnection to land, language and culture through his work defending Mother Earth. . . . His memoir is an artefact of transformation—a transformation of a hardened youth who endured more tragedy and danger than most of us can imagine into a defender of people, land and the notion that all species and systems are connected.”
Winnipeg Free Press

“From selling drugs in a gang to organizing environmental campaigns against oil and gas extraction, the stories of Thomas-Muller’s life defy any one category to paint a complex picture of what it is to be a Cree man in Canada.”
The Globe and Mail

“An incredible story. . . [and] a beautiful book.”
—CBC, “The Current”
“[In Life in the City of Dirty Water,] Thomas-Muller finds hope in the growing movement of climate change activism, especially by children.”
Vancouver Sun

“This book is an adventure story in every way. A life of drug dealers and crackhouses and guns; leaving that behind for a remarkable time of spiritual and personal growth; and there’s the ongoing adventure of working desperately to protect the planet and its sacred places. Clayton Thomas-Müller relates these adventures in ways that will help everyone through unfamiliar terrain—he’s a trustworthy guide and an authentic storyteller. In a moment when Indigenous people around the world are coming to the very fore of the most crucial fights, this volume will broaden your understanding in powerful ways. And you won’t forget its scenes any time soon.”
—Bill McKibben, co-founder of and author of Earth and Oil and Honey
“Clayton Thomas-Müller—Cree poet and environmental warrior dedicated to decolonization—has crafted an awesome, lyrical memoir that captures the experiences of urban Indigenous youth facing poverty, drugs, alcohol, domestic violence, and juvenile detention. Most, like Clayton, inherited the intergenerational trauma of residential schools. Clayton found a way to escape trauma and poverty in order to fight for his people. This beautifully written book is required reading for everyone who cares about justice for the survivors of genocide who continue to survive in colonized conditions. It offers a path to liberation that may also be the way to saving the earth and humanity itself.”
—Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, author of An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States

“[An] inspiring memoir.”

“The one thing that Clayton is able to do is he connects the past with the future. I think that’s what sets it apart from all the other books. We have an uncertain future ahead of us and he really takes what he’s learned from his past, his culture, his spirituality, his ancestors—and all those stories of creation and spirituality that make us a whole community. It makes the First Nations and all the people of Canada whole. It’s that wholeness that’s going to bring us forward. So I feel like Life in the City of Dirty Water really was able to do that better than any other book. It shows us a pathway forward as we try to deal with upcoming trauma that is undoubtedly going to happen as the climate changes.”
—Suzanne Simard, bestselling author of Finding the Mother Tree (Canada Reads)

“A gritty and inspiring memoir.”
Daily Herald Tribune


Canada Reads FINALIST 2022

McNally Robinson Book of the Year SHORTLIST 2022

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