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.
Prize(s): Winner People's Choice Award of Canada Reads (2012), Short-listed International IMPAC DUBLIN Literary Award (2014), Winner Winner First Nation Communities READ (2013), Winner Burt Award for First Nations, Metis and Inuit Literature (2013)
“Richard Wagamese's writing is sweet medicine for the soul.”
–Richard Van Camp, author of The Lesser Blessed
“Indian Horse is a force for healing in our beautiful, broken world.”
–Kathleen Winter, author of Annabel
“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, Globe & Mail
“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, Georgia Straight
“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, National Post
“...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