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Man Descending

4.06  ·  Rating Details  ·  220 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
These superbly crafted stories reveal an astonishing range, with settings that vary from a farm on the Canadian prairies to Bloomsbury in London, from a high-rise apartment to a mine-shaft. Vanderhaeghe has the uncanny ability to show us the world through the eyes of an eleven-year-old boy as convincingly as he reveals it through the eyes of an old man approaching senility ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published April 15th 2000 by Emblem Editions (first published January 1st 1982)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 408)
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Kane S.
Sep 01, 2014 Kane S. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was going to give this four stars, but fuck it. I enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I was going to. In high school, I read Guy Vanderhaeghe's The Englishman's Boy. I hated that book with a fucking passion - pedestrian writing, pedestrian plotting, pedestrian everything. (Even now, many years and many brain cells removed from that experience, I don't think I'll ever be able to read that book, again.)

So this was an incredible surprise.

These stories, although they are rather simple, are writ
...more
Enikő
Feb 28, 2015 Enikő rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was an okay book, but I had trouble getting into it. I like the premise, which is that each story shows a man who is on a downward spiral. He has lost or is about to lose something very important. The stories follow the man as he lives through this loss. Some of them come through with dignity, others... with less dignity.

The things I liked about this book are that 1) it felt very Canadian, and 2) the stories were acurate portrayals of how a man might react in such situations.

I know with a t
...more
Megan C
Oct 19, 2010 Megan C rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
A heck of a collection.
Emma Hartman
Aug 08, 2014 Emma Hartman rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Adam
Jan 08, 2011 Adam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1970-present, prose
There's no better way to put the major 'problem' with Vanderhaeghe than to say that he is sort of, in theory, um... lame. He writes about rural life, about really fucking white members of Canada's previously existent 'liberal class,' about Canadian suburbia before it really had any sort of tension to it, and uses a lot of what I call 'oh shucks'-isms. Dude writes like what he is, like a university educated white guy from small town Saskatchewan.

The great thing about Vanderhaeghe is that I've see
...more
rabbitprincess
Apr 15, 2009 rabbitprincess rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: previous Vanderhaeghe readers, Justin Rutledge fans
Recommended to rabbitprincess by: Justin Rutledge
An excellent collection of short stories. All of them had the same basic core: a family with one man (even with women around) who is an outcast or alone in some way. Often the family situation or the man's personal situation is going downhill fast, and the story focuses on how the protagonist deals with the situation. Do they stay and make the best of it, do they leave for something new, do they descend even further into decrepitude, do they become part of the "system" or whatever it is that's a ...more
Rob
May 06, 2012 Rob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(8/10) When it comes to writers like Guy Vanderhaeghe, "craftsmanship" is the word that first comes to mind. None of these stories are flashy or innovative like the academic postmodern writers I'm used to reading, but they have a kind of power all their own. The stories in this collection are about the deep scars that relationships between people leave, and how the most poisonous of these relationships can also be our most valuable. What I remember two months on is not the details of any one par ...more
Mary
Jan 26, 2016 Mary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good short stories but not good enough to go out of your way to read.
Ken
Sep 25, 2015 Ken rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
the master of written form!
Geoff
Jul 01, 2011 Geoff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the better short stories collections I've had the pleasure of reading. Real human condition stuff. Lots of emphasis on estrangement, relationships, abuse, and all of the things that can grind people down. Lots of powerful works here. The author has sort of libertarian, or old school conservative sentiments I think, but we can't all be perfect.
Caleigh
Feb 23, 2011 Caleigh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, short-stories
I don't always enjoy stories where the entire collection is from an exclusively male perspective, but these stories - told by men and boys of varying ages - were really compelling and interesting.
Painter Lady
Dec 28, 2012 Painter Lady rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great collection of stories...some quite dark, but this book, as an anthology of Vanderhaeghe's writing, hits you in the gut. I like this author a lot.
Milton
Aug 01, 2009 Milton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A most interesing read from an excellent Canadian Short Story teller. Amusing to say the least...his description of people are right on point.
Harry Monk
Sep 20, 2012 Harry Monk rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition


This is a superbly crafted collection of short stories with a diverse range of story tellers.
Lucas
Just as impactful as Updike's short stories. Most surprisingly well written Canadian book I've ever read.
Jason
My all time favorite collection of short stories. "Reunion" in particular is phenomenal.
Chris Neima
Dec 19, 2009 Chris Neima rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canlit
I enjoyed these stories.
Ibis3
Aug 02, 2010 Ibis3 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: a-od
NCL.2006-10-01
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Guy Clarence Vanderhaeghe, OC, SOM is a Canadian fiction author.

Vanderhaeghe received his Bachelor of Arts degree with great distinction in 1971, High Honours in History in 1972 and Master of Arts in History in 1975, all from the University of Saskatchewan. In 1978 he received his Bachelor of Education with great distinction from the University of Regina. In 1973 he was Research Officer, Institute
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“I've always found that a really lively argument depends on the ignorance of the combatants.” 8 likes
“Sometimes I feel entirely disassociated from what I do. It's a malady of the modern age.” 7 likes
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