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Born with a Tooth

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  747 Ratings  ·  78 Reviews
Almost a decade after its original publication, award winner and Governor General Literary Award nominee Joseph Boyden's classic book of short stories is finally being reissued. Born With A Tooth, Boyden's debut work of fiction, is a collection of thirteen beautifully written stories about aboriginal life in Ontario. They are stories of love, unexpected triumph, and a pass ...more
Paperback, 245 pages
Published September 1st 2008 by Cormorant Books (first published March 26th 2001)
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Joseph Boyden never disappoints. I've read two of his novels before this— The Orenda and Through Black Spruce—which I loved immensely. And even though this was a bit different, a short story collection and his first published work, it was just as excellent. The first few stories didn't grab my attention as much as I expected, but maybe that's due to me adjusting back to his storytelling and getting immersed in the setting. Boyden's stories all revolve around the First Nations, and he's so brill ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Born with a Tooth, Joseph Boyden
عنوان: متولد شده با یک دندان؛ نویسنده: جوزف بویدن، مترجم: محمد جوادی؛ تهران، تندیس، 1395؛ در 295 ص؛ شابک: 9786001821998؛ موضوع: داستانهای کوتاه از نویسندگان کانادایی - قرن 21 م
متولد شده با یک دندان، نخستین مجموعه (سیزده) داستان کوتاه از جوزف بویدن است که در سال 2001 منتشر شد. بویدن در این مجموعه داستان، همچو آثار پیشین خویش، با به کارگیری تعدد راوی، میخواهد ژرفای بیشتری به فضاها و رویدادها بدهد، و آنها را برای خوانشگر باورپذیرتر کند. داستانها به شکلی باهم در ارتبا
Jennifer (aka EM)
This is a (the only?) collection of Boyden's early short stories, re-published after the success of Three Day Road and Through Black Spruce. So it's tough to judge fairly, because a) short stories; b) early noodling that you can now see turned into brilliance in those later novels. Heading towards a 4 but not quite there.

There is some inconsistency (Legend of the Sugar Girl I think the only real dud); some stories started well but didn't finish well or the reverse. Some were a bit heavy-handed i
Mar 05, 2016 Marc-Antoine rated it it was amazing
Shelves: signed-by-author
Joseph Boyden writes characters in a way that makes me realize that everyone has a story, and maybe we should try to understand them more. He also makes me realize that we have a long way to go to make things right with the First Nations, and that we need to work hard to do so. Wonderful stories, my eyes are opened.
"Born With A Tooth" was a fairly common Native surname where I used to live in southern Alberta, but even so -- and I'm not eager here to make myself sound like some dumb wasichu who is condescendingly charmed by nature-based naming practises -- but even so, I always found hearing or reading that name to be jarring; maybe because it refers to something not quite natural? Maybe it hints at some innate power that is inaccessible to me? There must be something universally compelling about the name ...more
Lori Bamber
Oct 06, 2011 Lori Bamber rated it it was amazing
Boyden writes about the Cree and Ojibwa people of Northern Ontario. As it says on the book jacket, "They've been here ten thousand years. They survive."

Deftly and subtly, he tells stories of deep despair and impossible lives. Yet he lights the characters in these stories from within -- illuminating their humour, their great courage and their remarkable ability to adapt and live on.

These short stories never moralize. The only advice given, through the words of a 100-year-old man at the funeral o
Lady K
Dec 15, 2010 Lady K rated it liked it
Shelves: nouvelles
Les histoires sont très variées, et comme souvent dans ces cas là, il y en a qui plaisent et d’autres pas. Les nouvelles m’ont majoritairement plu, mais certaines sont vraiment longues et sans aucun intérêt, alors que d’autres sont tout simplement passionnantes. Au début je pensais trouver de vieilles légendes indiennes, ce qui m’aurait beaucoup intéressé. Mais j’ai du mal lire le résumé car, ce n’est pas le cas. Il s’agit de « Légendes Modernes » qui nous montrent la différence entre deux monde ...more
Sep 23, 2013 Ann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I mostly prefer to immerse myself in novels, rather than getting caught up in short stories only to have them end. Joseph Boyden changed my mind. While I love his novels, this collection of 13 stories tells a big tale. Each story is a gem on its own, but when put together their is a treasure trove of both heartbreak and healing. Often at the same moment.
Born With a Tooth introduces me to people I feel that I know. Each one has a unique voice that captures more than my imagination. They captured
May 03, 2015 Bev rated it it was amazing
As part of the Read Harder Challenge I wanted to read something written by a Native American. In this book of intriguing short stories Boyden writes about the Cree and Ojibwa people of Northern Ontario. Most of them live their lives of quiet desperation in utter poverty, in squalid, ramshackle homes on reservations far removed from "civilization". Yet Boyden treats each of his characters with respect and their voices really touched me. I felt these were real people telling their stories without ...more
Cynthia Davidson
Jun 26, 2012 Cynthia Davidson rated it really liked it
I've been on a Boyden binge recently, reading everything he's written, starting with "Three Day Road" recommended to me by a Miqmak friend in Canada. Having loved that, I then read "Through Black Spruce" (2008)so "Born With A Tooth" took me backwards in terms of his oeuvre. "Born With a Tooth" was his first novel, published in 2001, and it gives you a chance to see where his thinking started, and reveals the origins of some characters he's stayed with, or should I say, have stayed with him. Sure ...more
Jan 08, 2014 Doctordalek rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
Joseph Boyden's newest book, The Orenda, was in such high demand at my local library that I was approximately #800 on their waiting list. I wanted to read it before CBC's Canada Reads 2014 begins in March. In the meantime, I borrowed another of Boyden's books, Born with a Tooth.

It was only when I got home that I realized that it was a collection of short stories, which I generally dislike. Still, I needed to get an idea of Boyden's writing style and see if buying The Orenda would be a wise idea.
Carolyn Gerk
Aug 14, 2012 Carolyn Gerk rated it really liked it
This collection of short stories was the first offering on the market from Joseph Boyden. Full disclosure, Boyden's Three Day Road is one of the best books I have read in recent years, so spending a little more time wrapped up in his words was a pleasant experience for me.
Boyden has a way with words and a way to make ordinary human stories feel extraordinary. This collection of stories, snapshots of Canadian aboriginal life, is rife with poignant moments of true emotion and depth. Boyden offers
Jan 08, 2012 Brian rated it really liked it
It's easy to overdose on a collection of short stories, and it's hard to fairly judge one as a "book" when its form intends not to be greater than the sum of its parts. Its parts, in fact, ought to be wholes (although the final four tales overlap quite nicely) and should only be approached as such.

A few of the stories fairly glowed with a magic realism that many Ininew would no doubt appreciate but few if any would admit to experiencing today. Others portray a degradation that is hardly balance
Jan 05, 2009 Sarah rated it it was amazing
I've only read the first in this series of short stories, but I was bowled over with the clarity of raw emotion. I spent parts of my childhood in the small Native villages in the far north of Canada where the story is set, and the truth of the land, the truth of the culture comes through.

1/22/09 I've just read the second sort story in the book. this one is in the firs-person voice of a woman who is the bingo caller on a reservation in Ontario. Very thought-provoking.

10/6/09 I'm reading this book
David Fox
Jan 22, 2016 David Fox rated it really liked it
Joseph Boyden is a powerful writer and one of my favourite authors. This collection of thirteen short stories, originally published in 2001, is an interesting showcase of his developing talent. The stories deal with the social struggles of aboriginal people in Northern Ontario, including the damage done by residential schools, poverty, and addiction. In my opinion, the strongest part of the book is the final section of four stories which recount the death and funeral of a young native woman from ...more
Jun 30, 2015 Matt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Joseph Boyden's writing makes me feel like no other's. Anger, grief, happiness, frustration. Everything. I'm so incredibly thankful that I picked up Three Day Road last year and have since continued to read his fantastic work.

I loved the last three stories the most, as they presented the many different perspectives of this community. The preacher in "God's Children" had me shaking in anger like no other character has in a long time.

I wish that everyone reads these stories. I feel that this shou
Jan 10, 2014 Drea rated it it was amazing
I had just finished The Orenda, which I really enjoyed, so I wanted to read more of Boyden's other works.
When I bought this book, I didn't realize this book was full of short stories. Normally, I am not a fan of the short stories, but these are very well-written, interesting and very informative...a lot of the stories or characters are sad and heart-breaking, but real. I like the cultural awareness and relatable levels Boyden brings to all his characters/stories.
Obviously, I would personally e
Dec 26, 2010 Dorothy rated it really liked it
Joseph Boyden is an extremely talented writer and I have found all his books to be equally impressive.
This is a volume of short stories set in Ontario. The author represents his characters, mostly Ojibwa and Cree, with an authorative voice so that one can feel the life of the reserve through his descriptions. For me the most moving story is "Legend of the Sugar Girl", an elegy for the aboriginal culture destroyed by white settlement. While most of the stories involve pain and loss, the final sto
Aug 01, 2010 Ruthie rated it it was amazing
Full disclosure - Boyden's book Three Day Road is on my Top Ten List. I saw him speak in Toronto and he is very charming and very cute! This book of short stories is his first book. The stories are divided into 4 sections with 4 different themes. They are brilliant. I usually need to intersperse short stories with a novel, but I read this book in one day, and although the stories are not connected, they flow beautifully.

He is now teaching in New Orleans and I so impatient for a new book!
Oct 18, 2011 Anthony rated it really liked it
It was a great read. Each story was not long so it kept things fresh and interesting. Contains some good ol Indian humor which had me laughing out loud. The stories also hit on themes and issues that I have had personal experience with being First Nation, it makes me uncomfortable but still got me to think about these things that I have put away and try to forget about, which I think is more important.
May 23, 2015 Mar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

A collection of short stories reissued after the success of 3 day road and through black spruce. I enjoy the writing style and the authentic characters. Not happy stories and existence on the reservations is not pretty. It is good to keep us aware of the situations and hopefully help in the call for justice. I enjoyed how some characters reappeared in several stories and readers could get their takes on events and characters as well.
Dave Layzell
Sep 14, 2014 Dave Layzell rated it it was amazing
Loved it. Boyden is a great storyteller who write convincingly as one who has lived with real characters like those he's created for these short pieces. There's a sense of harsh reality with no blame or judgement added. I appreciate his perspective on native culture and his incredible talent for showing the very human qualities of even those brought to desperate places none should ever have to visit.
Normally, I don't do short stories. I either find the stories don't have enough "umph" or they are too engaging and I want more. Not this time...loved it. This was a great series of shorts, told with passion and detail but condensed into their own microcosm. I quite love Joseph Boyden and this lived up to those standards. I thought the different perspectives worked well and lent authenticity to the overall feel of the book.
Oct 02, 2013 Denise rated it it was amazing
I always enjoyed Joseph Boyden books and although I don't like short stories, I loved Born With a Tooth. Boyden takes each story which can certainly stand on its own and weaves it in with the others so by the end of the book, you feel like you've read a novel. He brings forth serious issues that plague Native Canadians and the realities that come forward. Brilliantly written, I couldn't put this book down.
Feb 01, 2016 Angie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved Boyden's historical novel "The Orenda". This book is a collection of short stories about the modern lives of indigenous people on and off the reserve. It is sad, funny and of course so well written. I especially enjoyed the last 4 stories that centre around the same time but are told from the point of different characters.
May 05, 2015 Kendra rated it it was amazing
I have previously read and loved all of Joseph Boyden's books so I was excited to read these short stories. They did not disappoint. With a couple of familiar characters placed from the other books and some new the stories touched my heart. The stories may be short but the characters stick with you. Boyden is an amazing storyteller and is one of my favourite authors.
Louise Ellis
Mar 06, 2014 Louise Ellis rated it it was amazing
This book of short stories captured my interest right from the beginning. Beautifully written the stories feel very real and I found myself reading it like a novel, wanting to find out what was going to happen next. All relate to aspects of First Nations life, the final four to different reflections on a single event.
Sep 18, 2012 Pam rated it really liked it

I just love the passion and detail Joseph Boyden uses when he writes. These short stories somehow fit together. They are raw and real. They describe life on and off the Res. just so well. Nicely done and never tiring.
Jan 04, 2011 Geoff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not all of the stories stand up equally, some are brilliant and others seem like fragments of bigger things. Characters and details appear again in his novels, and seem more at home there. Still, as collection it was often great, and always worth reading.
Natalie Pavlis
Dec 10, 2012 Natalie Pavlis rated it it was amazing
Boyden is a first class storyteller. Not usually a fan of short stories, I bought this after reading two of his novels--Three Day Road and Through Black Spruce. Such a brilliant use of language! He paints the picture, makes you laugh and despair and empathize. Amazing talent!
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Book Club: Born With a Tooth 1 2 Nov 20, 2015 02:24PM  
  • Traplines
  • A Short History of Indians in Canada: Stories
  • Light Lifting
  • Island: The Complete Stories
  • Kiss of the Fur Queen
  • Up Ghost River: A Chief's Journey Through the Turbulent Waters of Native History
  • Keeper'n Me
  • Saints of Big Harbour
  • Open
  • Daydreams of Angels
  • Daddy Lenin and Other Stories
  • Whale Music
  • Garbo Laughs
  • Dropped Threads: What We Aren't Told
  • Nights Below Station Street
Joseph Boyden is a Canadian novelist and short story writer.

He grew up in Willowdale, North York, Ontario and attended the Jesuit-run Brebeuf College School. Boyden's father Raymond Wilfrid Boyden was a medical officer renowned for his bravery, who was awarded the Distinguished Service Order and was the highest-decorated medical officer of World War II.

Boyden, of Irish, Scottish and Métis heritage
More about Joseph Boyden...

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