Celebrated author Richard Wagamese artfully crafts these thrilling yet vulnerable stories of two young men trying to find their place in the world.
The volume brings together two previously published novellas by Richard Wagamese, Him Standing and The Next Sure Thing, with a foreword from author Waubgeshig Rice. Both stories follow the lives of young men who have dreams for a better future. In their search for fame and fortune, Cree Thunderboy and Lucas Smoke end up on paths where their biggest challenge is staying true to themselves.
In Him Standing, Lucas Smoke learns the art of carving from his grandfather. He discovers that he is a natural; he can literally make people come to life in wood. But when Lucas is asked to carve a spirit mask by a mysterious stranger, he quickly learns that his skill with a knife could cost him his dreams.
In The Next Sure Thing, Cree Thunderboy has two things he does well: playing blues guitar and picking winning horses at the track. Picking winners is just meant to be a means to an end—Cree's goal is to make his living playing the blues. He meets a powerful man at the racetrack who convinces him he can parlay his special skill with the horses into a shot at the fame and fortune he seeks.
About the authors
Richard Wagamese (1955–2017), an Ojibway from the Wabaseemoong First Nation in northwestern Ontario, was recognized as one of Canada's foremost First Nations authors and storytellers. His debut novel, Keeper 'n Me, came out in 1994 and won the Alberta Writers Guild's Best Novel Award. In 1991, he became the first Indigenous writer to win a National Newspaper Award for column writing. He twice won the Native American Press Association Award for his journalism and received the George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature for his 2011 memoir One Story, One Song. In 2012, he was honoured with the Aboriginal Achievement Award for Media and Communications, and in 2013 he received the Canada Council for the Arts Molson Prize. In 2015, he won the Matt Cohen Award, a recognition given out by the Writers' Trust of Canada that honours writers who have dedicated their entire professional lives to the pursuit of writing. In total, he authored fifteen books including Indian Horse (2012), the 2013 People's Choice winner in CBC's Canada Reads competition, and his final book, a collection of Ojibway meditations, Embers (2016), received the Bill Duthie Booksellers' Choice Award.
Waubgeshig Rice is an author and journalist from Wasauksing First Nation on Georgian Bay. He has written three fiction titles, and his short stories and essays have been published in numerous anthologies. His most recent novel, Moon of the Crusted Snow, was published in 2018 and became a national bestseller. He graduated from Ryerson University’s journalism program in 2002 and spent the bulk of his journalism career at CBC, most recently as host of Up North, the afternoon radio program for northern Ontario. He lives in Sudbury with his wife and two sons.
“In an efficient yet engaging writing style, Wagamese portrays Lucas as a likeable hero with a distinct voice and perspective. Amy acts as a solid foil to Lucas, and the two develop each other in showing their vulnerable sides...The pace is snappy; events follow on each other's heels like dominoes at a rate sure to keep the reader hooked on the storyline. Recommended.”
CM: Canadian Review of Materials review for <i>Him Standing</i>
“Wagamese dips into deep issues such as balance in the universe and the power of fear, and wraps them up into a mystical story. An impressive feat. Also impressive is the voice he creates for Lucas; the young man’s internal dialogue feels genuine throughout.”
The Coastal Spectator review for <i>Him Standing</i>
“Wagamese, an Ojibway author and storyteller, has crafted a very strong story.”
Crowding the Book Truck blog review for <i>The Next Sure Thing</i>
"A clever puzzle that features a young man seeking to make his way."
Library Journal review for <i>The Next Sure Thing</i>
“[An] interesting and fast-paced read. One of the biggest strengths of the novel is Cree and his best friend, Ashton. Cree is honest and well developed.”
CM: Canadian Review of Materials review for <i>The Next Sure Thing</i>