What a turbulence of emotion. After reading a few previous reviews of this novel, I can understand why some readers might feel that the main characterWhat a turbulence of emotion. After reading a few previous reviews of this novel, I can understand why some readers might feel that the main character, Saul, is a tad difficult to relate with, and that his reactions to the horrors around him at residential school may be underwhelming or dissatisfying. I, too, felt something seemed a little unrealistic. However, the final quarter of this novel places these off-kilter emotions into perspective with a twist that left me in tears.
This was a deeply provocative and heartbreaking novel on the destruction of Aboriginal cultures in Canada, told through the eyes of a young indigenous boy who escapes the realities of his life by discovering his natural talent for playing hockey. While fast-paced, the narrative simmers with detail — so much that it made me close the book for a while, during the darker moments. And while I'm not a huge fan of hockey, and I did find the numerous descriptions of hockey-plays during games fairly redundant, the story ultimately delivers a powerful message on how the game can bring everyone together under one umbrella, but can simultaneously push people across ethnic, religious and national barriers.
This book will enlighten readers to a dark time in Canadian history, the harmful realities of racism, patriotism and cultural ignorance, and to why the healing powers of family, tradition, and love are so important....more
No other word for this book: beautiful. Complex, existential, and a provocative look at how aspects of human and animal consciousness intertwine. MadeNo other word for this book: beautiful. Complex, existential, and a provocative look at how aspects of human and animal consciousness intertwine. Made me perceive mortality in an entirely new way; had me contemplate the devastating loss of culture and language through a 'dog's' perspective. Andre Alexis has beautifully sculpted an instantly classic novel, filled with emotions, psychological complexities, and profound realizations about ourselves and the world around us. ...more
I'm not surprised this novel stirred surprise due to some of its more graphic elements, but to label this novel as "pornographic," or as "fifty shadesI'm not surprised this novel stirred surprise due to some of its more graphic elements, but to label this novel as "pornographic," or as "fifty shades of gay," as some ignorant critics have claimed it to be, sadly reveals that the reader has misinterpreted the point of the story entirely.
This book is far from 'pornographic' in the conventional sense. The narrative, as told by the theatrical and audacious teenager, Jude, is at times sexually explicit because this is exactly how many teenagers today, much less many gay teens, perceive their world amid adolescence. Unapologetic, unfiltered, desensitized, sexualized. Jude, who uses sexual fantasies and his dreams of becoming famous as a means to survive the brutalities of his homophobic peers, mentally transforms his life into a film set -- all of his 'haters' continue to torment him because they secretly can't get enough of his fame. It allows him the confidence to continue living his life.
Those readers and critics who denounce this book as merely fictional gay porn, and question why it won a Governor General's award, clearly haven't read the story to its powerful and tragic finale. Either that or they're simply unwilling to engage in a discourse surrounding homophobia that is so incredibly important to today's society, especially amongst youth. I'm very proud this novel received the YA award it did, and that so many people are discussing it. The story's sharp wit and emotional depth culminate into a novel that crisply portrays the personal realities so many LGBTQ people face today.
This book wasn't written for shock value, it was written out of necessity. A must-read....more
One of my favourite novels of all time. Distinctly unique, beautifully written prose, while submerging the reader into the mind of a sadly conflictedOne of my favourite novels of all time. Distinctly unique, beautifully written prose, while submerging the reader into the mind of a sadly conflicted middle-aged professor with honest desires that speak to striking realities of human lust and emotion. The books leaves you feeling conflicted over a protagonist that would otherwise clearly be labelled as 'mentally ill,' or a 'paedophile,' as his intense obsession for a young girl is conveyed through a conflicted mind that ironically seems rational and understandable in many respects -- and leaves you, yourself, feel a little uneasy over your own approval of this irrevocably lost character. An intense, unpredictable, intricate, provocative and confusing look into the mind. A masterpiece by a Russian novelist who clearly understands what it means to be human. ...more