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Midnight Sweatlodge

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  113 ratings  ·  24 reviews
Midnight Sweatlodge tells the tale of family members, friends and strangers who gather together to partake in this ancient healing ceremony. Each person seeks wisdom and insight to overcome their pain and hardship. Through their stories we get glimpses into their lives that are both tearful and true. Capturing the raw emotion and unique challenges of modern Indigenous life ...more
Paperback, 96 pages
Published June 23rd 2011 by Theytus Books
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Sep 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: aboriginal, canada
I like to read native fiction. I usually find it challenging; I'm always grappling with that trickster dude. I have this idea that when I figure out the role this character plays, the better I will understand native culture and spirituality.

Well having read all 85 pages of this book, I didn't notice any trickster. Oh he might have been in there, but I didn't notice if he was. I was blindsided by the truth.

That is not to say that the book was lacking in spirituality and native culture. We are in
George K. Ilsley
A slim volume of stories about young First Nations people linked through a shared experience of a sweat lodge. Unfortunately the volume I read contained printing errors where pages and paragraphs are repeated — this interrupted the flow of the story Solace. Some reviewers feel the final story did not fit with the rest — however, the final story begins in the sweat lodge and then the healing journey starts to take effect out into the life of that character and his family. The final story opens ev ...more
May 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
“Midnight Sweatlodge” begins with an FMNI winter tradition. Men and women gather together around hot stones in the middle of winter. While the warmth of the stones surround them, they share their stories. “Midnight Sweatlodge” tells four of the stories that are shared during this Sweatlodge. I gained a lot of knowledge and insight into FMNI Res life through the stories told in “Midnight Sweatlodge”. Some of the stories share certain traits, but each one is important on its own. It is a quick rea ...more
Tina Siegel
Nov 11, 2018 rated it liked it
I’ve been on an Indigenous Canadian writer kick, and loving it.

Midnight Sweatlodge, by Waub Rice, is the most compact Indigenous Canadian read I’ve encountered so far, and the one I’m most ambivalent about.

The book is definitely a novel, but it’s loosely constructed, so it’s also a series of connected short stories. Either way, it takes a deep, hard look at the challenges and triumphs of being Indigenous in a country that talks about reconciliation, but does little to actually reconcile. The p
May 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Waubgeshig Rice is an incredible talent.
May 31, 2019 rated it liked it
An interesting concept for a book—the collection of a few stories told during a sweat lodge ceremony. I found it showed me an interesting perspective.

I liked the first story the most, but perhaps that was because I was reading it with the hope I could use the text in a high school classroom. Unfortunately, I cannot see bringing the whole book there, but see possibilities for the opening story in an introductory, identity exploring, empathy producing kind of role for grade 8s. The language is si
Linda Mary
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'm going to end up reading this book again because I want to see what else I might be able to glean from what seem to be mysterious recursions among the characters. One interesting technical issue I encountered is that the copy I finally acquired (at some expense!) has several printing anomalies (chunks of text repeated and spliced into the middle of other text) that forced me to stop and find my way forward. (My copy is actually 98 pages long, rather than 96, as a result.) I haven't heard any ...more
Joe McGuire
Aug 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Powerful and moving storytelling.

Adds to my own understanding a bit.

Do yourself a favor, read this book.
Bookworm Adventure Girl
Sep 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
For my full review, please follow the link below:
Florence Lyon
Jun 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Florence by: Waubgeshig Rice
I found this a short read on a not-so-light topic. As we encounter characters in the midnight sweatlodge, we learn of their back stories, the shared pain from generations of alcohol abuse and domestic violence. It's a novel about the loss and rebirth of tradition, a community affected by external forces plus the corruption and greed of those in power. It does though provide a glimpse of hope for the future generations.

At times, I had to re-read certain sections to understand which story and time
Sep 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
A concise book of linked short stories with the sweat lodge becoming the reason these stories are being shared.

Waubgeshig Rice covers a lot of the themes of current indigenous literature - hurt, loss, suicide and pain. He could have concluded the book with those themes and it still would have been powerful.

But I found his final story to be a change from the rest, telling a very different story than the others heard in the sweat lodge. It wasn't hopeful exactly, I think it was a return to a diff
Daniel Perry
Dec 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Waubgeshig Rice does more in these 96 pages (third edition, 2012) than I've seen some writers do over a thousand. Hard-hitting work rooted in reality, with only the right details included in the crisp language of the four short stories, all told at the titular venue. The stories lay plain the dichotomy of the modern world and native traditions and starkly show the challenges this presents, particularly the hardship of Reserve life. The book isn't without missteps - the fourth story, "Aasinaabe," ...more
Luce Cronin
Feb 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Although this author is a journalist with many published pieces, this is his first published novel. He writes simply, with words that evoke situations and emotions very powerfully. This very short novel is constructed around the 4 people attending their first sweatlodge to enable them to start healing from the traumas in their lives. The novel ends with a somewhat prophetic story about the state of our society.
Ann Doyon
Aug 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Young adults
Reading Waubgeshig Rice’s Midnight Sweatlodge makes you feel as though you’ve been punched in the gut. The story of a young man’s suicide and the loss of his spirit is hard to accept; you want him to live to fulfill his brilliant potential. Rice has created possibly the most unflinchingly realistic portrayal of Aboriginal life in Canada ever written. He captures the loss and rebirth of tradition with beguiling, subtle nuances. Midnight Sweatlodge is the inaugural work of a writer to watch.
Apr 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A short way into Waubgeshig Rice’s Midnight Sweatlodge I said to myself “This little book is a gem!” but now that I’ve finished reading and rereading it I say loudly “This big, grand book is deceptive in it’s tininess and it is not a single gem but a glistening, sparkling, icy string of brutally sharp-edged diamonds. . . .

I say more about Midnight Sweatlodge here:
Feb 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A small book that packs an enormous punch - four linked stories that thrust us headfirst into the world of a First Nations community and connected through the experience that the characters have in participating in a "midnight sweatlodge" - held at midnight because of the interference of the white outsider communities that impact on the culture, traditions and day-to-day lives of First Nations peoples - poignant, profound and poetic - I hope we see more fiction from Waubgeshig Rice!
Jul 20, 2014 rated it liked it
This small book is mostly told through a young person. It is about life on an Anishinaabe reserve and we learn of a sweat lodge, protesters and death, young people trying to make their way and the obstacles to overcome.
Dec 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
A powerful glimpse into the healing power of ceremony and storytelling. This book is important as it tells the struggles that our neighbours living in and the hope that comes with connecting to land and teachings.
Dec 11, 2012 rated it liked it
An intimate glimpse at personal and community pain, and a wonderful exploration of the healing power of story-telling. Non-aboriginal readers have much to learn from this "sweatlodge" process. This tiny but beautifully written book packs a lot in!
Dec 16, 2016 rated it liked it
In this slender volume, WS has given us a synopsis of despair. It is a bleak assessment highlighting the tribulations and consequences of displacement. I found the ambiguous ending at odds with the crispness of the rest of the book. Need to read more by this author.
Jessica Walters
Feb 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: canada
Very interesting…gave me a glimpse into lives very different from my own –which is always a positive thing for a book to do.
Aug 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Moving, thought provoking.
Aug 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Emotional reading.
Dennis James
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Theytus Books
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Waubgeshig Rice is an author and journalist originally from Wasauksing First Nation. His first short story collection, Midnight Sweatlodge, was inspired by his experiences growing up in an Anishinaabe community, and won an Independent Publishers Book Award in 2012. His debut novel, Legacy, followed in 2014. His most recent novel, Moon of the Crusted Snow, was published in October 2018. He currentl ...more

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