Named a "Best Novel of the Decade" by Literary Hub Saul Indian Horse is a child when his family retreats into the woods. Among the lakes and the cedars, they attempt to reconnect with half-forgotten traditions and hide from the authorities who have been kidnapping Ojibway youth. But when winter approaches, Saul loses everything: his brother, his parents, his beloved grandmother--and then his home itself. Alone in the world and placed in a horrific boarding school, Saul is surrounded by violence and cruelty. At the urging of a priest, he finds a tentative salvation in hockey. Rising at dawn to practice alone, Saul proves determined and undeniably gifted. His intuition and vision are unmatched. His speed is remarkable. Together they open doors for him: away from the school, into an all-Ojibway amateur circuit, and finally within grasp of a professional career. Yet as Saul's victories mount, so do the indignities and the taunts, the racism and the hatred--the harshness of a world that will never welcome him, tied inexorably to the sport he loves. Spare and compact yet undeniably rich, Indian Horse is at once a heartbreaking account of a dark chapter in our history and a moving coming-of-age story.
- Paperback | 240 pages
- 137.16 x 213.36 x 20.32mm | 317.51g
- 10 Apr 2018
- Milkweed Editions
- Minneapolis, United States
"Richard Wagamese is a born storyteller."--Louise Erdrich "Many indigenous authors have portrayed the horrific conditions endured by Native children in boarding schools in both the US and Canada throughout much of the twentieth century. But perhaps no author has written a novel with such raw, visceral emotion about the lifelong damage resulting from this institutionalization as Wagamese . . . Wagamese's heart-wrenching tale was made into an award-winning movie, and it tells a story that will long haunt all readers."--Booklist (starred review) "This flawless novel is an epic tragedy graced with tendrils of hope. . . . We are indebted to [Wagamese] for all he wrote, and especially for this book, a powerful fictional illumination of a Native North American life that echoes so many real ones."--Minneapolis Star Tribune "A wonderful coming-of-age novel . . . When the story's protagonist, Saul Indian Horse, lands in a treatment center after an alcoholic overdose, he's encouraged to draft his life story--and it's an incredible tale." --Outside Magazine "While Wagamese's fictionalized account is unflinching in its grim history of institutional cruelty, it also witnesses moments of human joy . . . With Indian Horse, Wagamese has sneakily written one of the great works of sport literature, filled with the kind of poetry that can redeem individual lives despite the systems that would see them destroyed."--Literary Hub "Haunting and masterful . . . In spare, poetic language, Wagamese wrestles with trauma and its fallout, and charts the long, lonely walk to survival."--Publishers Weekly "[A] chillingly beautiful book . . . Wagamese's novel depicts the tragedies of residential schools (although they were more like child labor camps than schools) in the 1960s to '70s through the life of Saul Indian Horse, a young First Nations boy who escapes the horrors of the school through his passion for hockey."--Electric Literature "From the novel's outset, Indian Horse announces itself as the story of a generation, not merely of a single individual's life. . . . It is the intimacy of Wagamese's telling that transforms the story from an abstract experience to one that lives and breathes."--Fiction Writers Review Canadian Praise for Indian Horse "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 "An unforgettable work of art . . . 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."--National Post "One of the rarest sorts of books: a novel which is both important and a heart-in-throat pleasure."--Edmonton Journal "It is as a story of reconciliation that this novel reveals Wagamese's masterful subtlety. . . . In a single image, Wagamese complicates in blinding ways the entire narrative; in a single page, Indian Horse deepens from an enjoyable read to a gripping critique of Canada."--The Walrus "This book is so many things; it is a mystical tale; it is an ode to the good old hockey game and its power to lift players above their situations; it is a story of a system that fails and fails its children in horrifying ways; it is a story of healing. . . . A hopeful and beautiful book."--Guelph Mercury Praise for Medicine Walk "Less written than painstakingly etched into something more permanent than paper . . . Richard Wagamese bides his time, never rushing, calibrating each word so carefully that he never seems to waste a shot. . . . Though death saturates these pages, not a word here is lugubrious. Though revelations abound, there are no cheap surprises. . . . There's nothing plain about this plain-spoken book."--New York Times "A slim, beautiful, heart-wrenching novel . . . Richard Wagamese is a marvelous writer, and this is a treasure of a book."--Minneapolis Star Tribune "Wagamese has penned a complex, rugged, and moving father-son novel. His muscular prose and spare tone complement this gem of a narrative."--Publishers Weekly (starred review) "Richard Wagamese is a keen observer, sketching places or people elegantly, economically, all while gracefully employing literary insight to deftly dissect blood ties lingering in fractured families. . . . A powerful novel of hard men in hard country, reminiscent of Jim Harrison's Legends of the Fall."--Kirkus "A deeply felt and profoundly moving novel, written in the kind of sure, clear prose that brings to mind the work of the great North American masters like Steinbeck. But Wagamese's voice and vision are also completely his own, as is the important and powerful story he has to tell."--Jane Urquhart
About Richard Wagamese
Richard Wagamese (1955-2017) was one of Canada's foremost writers, and one of the leading indigenous writers in North America. He was the author of several acclaimed memoirs and more than a dozen novels. He won numerous awards and honors for his writing, including the People's Choice winner of the national Canada Reads competition in 2013, for Indian Horse.