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Fiction Literary

Indian Horse

by (author) Richard Wagamese

Publisher
Douglas & McIntyre
Initial publish date
Jan 2012
Category
Literary, Media Tie-In, Native American & Aboriginal
  • Paperback / softback

    ISBN
    9781553654025
    Publish Date
    Jan 2012
    List Price
    $21.95
  • eBook

    ISBN
    9781553659709
    Publish Date
    Jan 2012
    List Price
    $17.99

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 15
  • Grade: 10

Description

Saul Indian Horse has hit bottom. His last binge almost killed him, and now he’s a reluctant resident in a treatment centre for alcoholics, surrounded by people he’s sure will never understand him. But Saul wants peace, and he grudgingly comes to see that he’ll find it only through telling his story. With him, readers embark on a journey back through the life he’s led as a northern Ojibway, with all its joys and sorrows.

With compassion and insight, author Richard Wagamese traces through his fictional characters the decline of a culture and a cultural way. For Saul, taken forcibly from the land and his family when he’s sent to residential school, salvation comes for a while through his incredible gifts as a hockey player. But in the harsh realities of 1960s Canada, he battles obdurate racism and the spirit-destroying effects of cultural alienation and displacement. Indian Horse unfolds against the bleak loveliness of northern Ontario, all rock, marsh, bog and cedar. Wagamese writes with a spare beauty, penetrating the heart of a remarkable Ojibway man.

About the author

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.

Richard Wagamese's profile page

Awards

  • Short-listed, International IMPAC DUBLIN Literary Award
  • Winner, Winner First Nation Communities READ
  • Winner, Burt Award for First Nations, Metis and Inuit Literature
  • Winner, People's Choice Award of Canada Reads

Editorial Reviews

“Richard Wagamese's writing is sweet medicine for the soul.”

Richard Van Camp, author of <i>The Lesser Blessed</i>

Indian Horse is a force for healing in our beautiful, broken world.”

Kathleen Winter, author of <i>Annabel</i>

Indian Horse distills much of what Wagamese has been writing about for his whole career into a clearer and sharper liquor, both more bitter and more moving than he has managed in the past. He is such a master of empathy—of delineating the experience of time passing, of lessons being learned, of tragedies being endured—that what Saul discovers becomes something the reader learns, as well, shocking and alien, valuable and true.”

Jane Smiley, <i>Globe & Mail</i>

“Richard Wagamese's writing is exceptional not only for its sensitivity but for a warmth that extends beyond the page. With a finely calibrated hand, he explores heritage, identity, nature, salvation, and gratitude in works that quietly celebrate storytelling’s vitality and power to transcend.”

David Chau, <i>Georgia Straight</i>

Indian Horse finds the granite solidity of Wagamese's prose polished to a lustrous sheen; brisk, brief, sharp chapters propel the reader forward. He seamlessly braids together his two traditions: English literary and aboriginal oral. So audible is Saul's voice, that I heard him stop speaking whenever I closed the book...Wagamese crafts an unforgettable work of art.”

Donna Bailey Nurse, <i>National Post</i>

“...a powerful story and a shameful indictment of residential schools and predatory priests, but it is also a story of great courage and beauty. Saul’s Ojibway heritage, the true friendships he forms along his journey, and his strength and resiliency, are beacons of hope in the midst of immense suffering and pain.”

Lucy E. M. Black

Librarian Reviews

Indian Horse

In this novel, Wagamese writes beautifully about the life-crushing racism towards First Nations people in the 1960s. Saul Indian Horse has grown up in the bush, with the teachings of his grandmother. After his brother and sister are taken away, his grandmother hides him, then dies trying to take him to safety. Saul calls residential school “hell on earth” but grows numb to the horrors around him, learning to become invisible. Hockey becomes his outlet, his passion and his saving grace but his outstanding talent can’t compete with the prejudice of white society. After landing in a treatment centre, Saul realizes he must journey back through his repressed memories and emotions. Aided by his great-grandfather’s mystical vision, Saul’s broken spirit begins to heal.

Wagamese is Ojibway from Northern Ontario.

Caution: Includes references to abuse and alcohol use.

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. Canadian Aboriginal Books for Schools. 2012-2013.

Indian Horse

In this novel, Wagamese writes beautifully about the darkest aspects of life-crushing racism towards First Nations people in the 1960s. Saul Indian Horse has grown up in the bush, with the teachings of his grandmother. After his brother and sister are taken away, his grandmother hides him, then dies trying to take him to safety. Saul calls residential school “hell on earth” but grows numb to the heartbreaking horrors around him, learning to become invisible. Hockey becomes his outlet, his passion and his saving grace but his outstanding talent can’t compete with the prejudice of white society. After landing in a treatment centre, Saul realizes he must journey back through his repressed memories and emotions. Aided by his great-grandfather’s mystical vision, Saul’s broken spirit begins to heal.

An award winner, Wagamese is Ojibway from Northern Ontario.

Caution: Includes references to abuse and alcohol use.

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. BC Books for BC Schools. 2012-2013.

User Reviews

Indian Horse

Books that make an impact on you are few and far between but this book definitely hit the mark for me. I loved the writing, the imagery, the characters. Absolutely everything about it.

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