Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Man Descending” as Want to Read:
Man Descending
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Man Descending

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  269 Ratings  ·  22 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)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Man Descending, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Man Descending

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Jul 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A compilation of 12 short stories with characters ranging from young boys to old men, across varied landscapes from England to Saskatchewan. Evocative writing and eloqent prose throughout!
Lori Bamber
Aug 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A treasure ...
Dec 25, 2010 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
Oct 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
A heck of a collection.
May 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wide variety of excellent short stories. Set in Canada mostly.
May 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5. A cracking collection of stories.
Emma Hartman
Jan 26, 2014 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 05, 2009 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
Kane S.
Aug 27, 2014 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
Feb 04, 2012 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
Feb 23, 2015 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
Jul 01, 2011 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.
Chris Neima
Dec 19, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canlit
I enjoyed these stories.
Sep 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
the master of written form!
Harry Monk
Sep 18, 2012 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.
Aug 01, 2009 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.
My all time favorite collection of short stories. "Reunion" in particular is phenomenal.
Painter Lady
Dec 28, 2012 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.
Feb 23, 2011 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.
Just as impactful as Updike's short stories. Most surprisingly well written Canadian book I've ever read.
Mary Ann
Good short stories but not good enough to go out of your way to read.
rated it really liked it
Feb 14, 2012
Aug 02, 2010 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: a-od
Caitlyn Kirwan
rated it liked it
Nov 17, 2017
rated it liked it
Feb 10, 2010
rated it liked it
Jan 18, 2012
K. Taggart
rated it it was amazing
Mar 06, 2012
rated it it was amazing
Mar 24, 2010
rated it it was amazing
Aug 02, 2009
rated it it was amazing
Dec 18, 2013
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Watch that Ends the Night
  • Dust to Dust
  • Whale Music
  • Siege 13
  • St. Urbain's Horseman
  • Small Change
  • The Selected Stories
  • Nights Below Station Street
  • A Discovery Of Strangers
  • Inside
  • The Studhorse Man
  • The Withdrawal Method
  • Savage Love
  • The Underpainter
  • Cabbagetown
  • Island: The Complete Stories
  • Light Action in the Caribbean: Stories
  • Rue Deschambault
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
More about Guy Vanderhaeghe
“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
More quotes…