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Indian Horse

A Novel

Wagamese, Richard

(Book - 2012)
Average Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.
Indian Horse
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Saul Indian Horse is in trouble, and there seems to be only one way out. As he journeys his way back through his life as a northern Ojibway, from the horrors of residential school to his triumphs on the hockey rink, he must question everything he knows.
Publisher: Vancouver, BC : Douglas & McIntyre, c2012
ISBN: 9781553654025
Branch Call Number: FICTION
Characteristics: 220 p. ; 22 cm


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Nov 08, 2014
  • misswindsor rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This is an excellent, well written, moving story. I loved it.

This author takes a grisly subject and weaves a tale of simple grace. A privilege to read.

Sep 19, 2014
  • becker rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

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.

Jul 28, 2014
  • DaveOakBay rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Kept me on the edge of my chair with thoughts of growing up in Thunder Bay with the 'reserve' seen as a culture apart and years later in Yukon working with native youth in custody. Wagamese creates memorable and credible characters who bring the very human drama of repressed and mistreated peoples to the heart in a most searing way. Definitely worth the read and it will forever shift my appreciation of the devastation caused by cultural and racial misunderstanding.

Jul 07, 2014
  • indi rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

A very easy read of a great book.

I grew up on hockey on TV at home but never cared for it more than getting caught up in the excitement of those viewing it. This book made me care about it for a time.

I love this writer. I've met him a number of times and when he speaks, he speaks right into my heart and I am left in tears.

His books are the same and most times, I can't read more than a few pages without putting the book down to process what it brings up, thus to date, I've had a hard time being able to read his books to completion. This was the first time I could.

Now I will go back to tackle his others again. Not that they are a hard read; they are not. I find his writing style simple and eloquent and there are no wasted words.

It's the emotion they evoke that causes me to pause to honour what comes up that delays their reading.

I am so impressed that his process involves walking the land and speaking his story out loud to the ancestors and honouring the ancient First Nations traditional of oral story telling.

He also tells his story dog, Molly, his stories as he walks and he says she provides him with feedback till after weeks, he has honed it down so well that he can sit down and type out 6-8 pages a day UNEDITED!

Amazing process and it explains why his stories are so pure and so powerful.

Such a beautiful writer. I highly recommend any of his works and if you ever get the chance to go and hear him speak, or attend one of his writer's retreats, do so. You won't be disappointed.

Added - I just saw the video on the other tab here to the right posted by a reader of Richard talking re. this book and he says how it isn't an easy book to read and digest.

I disagree. As stated above, for me, it was the first time I could read one of his books front to back and I was able to digest it well.

I guess for the general public it may be hard but not for me.

The reason being I am an Indian Residential school inter-generational survivor. So when he speaks, he speaks for me, and so many others that never had a voice during the abuse.

Jun 30, 2014
  • Sublurbanite rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This should be read by every Canadian. One of my favourite books, and now one of my favourite authors.

Sidenote: If you ever get a chance to hear Wagamese speak, clear your calendar. You won't be disappointed. Truly an inspiration.

Jun 20, 2014
  • kozakd rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

The story is undertold with a grace and eloquence like no other. This should be required reading for all high school students, their parents and everyone else. I loved the hockey component.

Jan 16, 2014
  • wiredonjava rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Saul is a gentle soul turned bitter as he is abused by corrupt system. He is a survivor who finds redemption during a painful process. Excellent writing style. Empathy for character came easily. Even the hockey games described were enjoyable moments.

Touching and sad story that sheds light on the issues natives face. The struggles the main character goes through are heart breaking, but his perseverance and strength come through in the end. This story is a reminder that everyone has demons they have to battle or come to terms with.

ps..I agree on the hockey comment.

Nov 29, 2013
  • ITC rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Loved the book, easy to read and Richard Wagamese gives the reader of the glimpse about what the First Nations people have gone through. ser_library stated that it was too much hockey for his/her taste. You miss the point. Saul loved the game so much and was an excellent player, but he paid a heavy price for the love of the game. I would go into detail for that would spoil the plot. The author could not skim over the game of hockey. It would have had less impact.

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Set in northern Ontario in the 1960s, Indian Horse tells the story of Saul Indian Horse, an Ojibwa boy taken from his family and sent to a residential school where he experiences and witnesses horrible abuse. Saul's means of escape comes in the form of hockey. His incredible skills as a hockey player eventually get him out of the school, but racism and his troubled past threaten to take away all his joy and passion for the game.

Jan 14, 2013
  • Aboriginals_Autochtones rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

From D&M publishers: http://www.dmpibooks.com/book/indian-horse

"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."


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Feb 13, 2013
  • becker rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

"When your innocence is stripped from you, when your people are denigrated, when the family you came from is denounced and your tribal ways and rituals are pronounced backward, primitive, savage, you come to see yourself as less than human. That is hell on earth, that sense of unworthiness. That's what they inflicted on us."

Feb 13, 2013
  • becker rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

"We need mystery,...Creator in her wisdon knew this. Mystery fills us with awe and wonder. They are the foundations of humility, and humility, grandson, is the foundation of all learning."


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Richard Wagamese Speech UBC

A very interesting a moving talk by Richard Wagamese about his novel, Indian Horse.

Feb 13, 2013
  • becker rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Indian Horse


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Jan 14, 2013
  • Aboriginals_Autochtones rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Aboriginals_Autochtones thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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