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Him Standing

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  142 ratings  ·  31 reviews
When Lucas Smoke learns the Ojibway art of carving from his grandfather, he proves to be a natural. He can literally make people come to life in wood. Then Lucas's growing reputation attracts a mysterious stranger, who offers him a large advance to carve a spirit mask.
This mask is to represent the master, but Lucas must find its face in his dreams. As his dreams become mo
Paperback, 136 pages
Published April 1st 2013 by Orca Book Publishers (first published January 1st 2013)
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Oct 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 21st-century, canada
A very quick read. (No wonder it's part of the Rapid Reads set!) but nonetheless a very good one to zip through.

I saw it as a sensitive exploration of the place of aboriginal youth in our society: struggling somewhere between fitting in with modern times and hanging on to the values of the ancestors. How does one handle the push/pull of those two seemingly disparate ideologies? It is also a subtle exploration of the place of the artist in the world: from whence do these visions come and how does
Mar 05, 2016 rated it liked it
A fun, quick read.
I think Wagamese's Ojibway background shows quite a bit in this. Many elements of the story remind me of hallmarks of other First Nations legends/stories. I guess you have to read a lot of them to really get a feel for them.
I liked that the Big Bad Guy's name was Him Standing. That really tickled me for some reason.
My favourite part of this book, though, was more about me. In reading this, I finally twigged to the fact that it is simply an accepted fact of First Nations Magic R
Lorina Stephens
Nov 19, 2014 rated it liked it
Another in Orca's Rapid Reads series, Wagamese delivers a novella drawing from his own rich Ojibwa heritage, this time sketching the story of a wood carver commissioned to carve a mask. The story which unfolds is a classic power-play between dark and light, good and evil, in this case of a dark shaman who wishes to resurrect an evil shaman of old.

Guided by an Ojibwa elder, the carver discovers the power of his own ancestors, and a way to defeat the emergence of an ancient and destructive power.
Apr 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a Rapid Read as the top corner suggests. A short, little adventure. This one is to a novel as a TV show is to a movie. It was enjoyable but leaves me wanting a little more. A writer we recently lost, too soon.
Jan 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Although this book was a "Rapid Read" it packed a lot more in between its pages than other verbose tomes.
Nov 24, 2018 rated it liked it
My least favourite of his books but it was still interesting
Stan James
Oct 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
This novella has one of the most delightfully creepy covers I've seen in recent years. A quick glance at the premise--a young Ojibway man carver is asked to make a spirit mask by a mysterious stranger, with possibly dire consequences--and I was in.

Him standing is one of those stories that doesn't surprise in any way, but it achieves everything it sets out to do, making the time you spend with the amiable and slightly goofy protagonist Lucas Smoke perfectly enjoyable. Smoke's ability to capture a
Heather Pearson
Apr 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: canadian, indigenous
I recently learned that Orca Book Publishers has a line of books that they call 'Rapid Reads'. These are shorter stories, both fiction and non-fiction, that are both shorter in length and easier to read. The target readers are ESL students, people with lower level reading skills, those who want a one night read. I feel they would also be a great choice for people who are having trouble focusing, perhaps due to an extended illness. At present there are 29 adults titles available. Him Standing by ...more
Derek Newman-Stille
Lucas Smoke learned the art of carving from his grandfather and finds that his hands seem to move of their own volition to carve figures that he sees in everyday life…. but when he learned the art of carving, his grandfather didn’t teach him the deeper meanings behind his craft, the knowledge that would keep him safe from exploitation.

When Lucas’ grandfather dies, his family wars over the man’s possessions leaving Lucas feeling uncomfortable since all he wanted was his grandfather, not his posse
Jul 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Lucas Smoke is sad when his grandfather dies but knows his memory stays alive in the Ojibway art of wood carving that his grandfather taught him. Lucas’s grandfather was skilled at making native spirit masks, while Lucas’s talent is in recreating people’s faces through small, intricate carvings that are amazingly life-like. When a mysterious stranger dressed in black offers Lucas an exorbitant amount of money to carve a spirit mask, Lucas unknowingly endangers his own life. The spirit mask Lucas ...more
Sep 18, 2016 rated it liked it
It's a good story, powerful--Wagamese knows how to craft a story, draw you into the spell. Seems like an authentic indigenous voice, told in first person, and a likeable character. Healthy relationships portrayed in his love & repect for his grandfather and now with his girlfriend, and then with the glass artist they come to know. Much of the story deals with the spirit world, though, some of it scary, some amazing, some kind of confusing. I think a native person would hear it speak loud &am ...more
Apr 18, 2013 rated it liked it
Him Standing by Richard Wagamese

I blew through this short story during lunch hour. The premise of the tale held me until the very end. Although it is a quick read, it is one steeped in Ojibway culture where every detail is priceless. The seemingly never ending nightmare our hero experiences is frightening to anyone that enjoys lucid dreams. Where we understand little but appreciate the subtleties, you have to ask: who is sending the message? Definitely worth the time to discover interesting myth
Apr 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Loved it - this is one of Orca's Rapid Reads novels and Richard Wagamese has done a fine job in crafting a riveting teen novel that explores in a totally accessible way so many of the themes that we'd expect from this master of contemporary First Nations writing - it's got an interesting take on Ojibway spirituality, culture and loss of language as well as the key role that community, family and relationships work in the lives of contemporary Ojibway peoples not to mention a wicked supernatural ...more
Apr 10, 2018 rated it liked it
A quick and easy read, which probably meant that there was not a lot of time for nuance. It was interesting to have a story about a Native person written by a Native person that draws on Native culture. The plot was a bit predictable and cliche, as was the baddie, but again there wasn't a lot of nuance.
Dec 01, 2016 rated it liked it
This was a very quick read - only 129 short pages. While not my favourite writing of Richard Wagamese, true to his style is the story within a story. Lack of character development was replaced with a tale of good overcoming evil and the importance of living a balanced life - that is, when you are cloaked in too much darkness, you must bathe yourself in light.
Golden Secondary School
Life is okay for Lucas Smoke: he's making some money doing wood carvings on the boardwalk and he has met a nice girl who seems to like him.

His talent with carving gains the attention of a mysterious stranger and, all of a sudden, life is not okay anymore.

Recommended for reluctant readers.
Jennifer Torry
Apr 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a quick read but an excellent young adolescent novel that is appropriate for middle grades! Wagamese tells the story of light and dark spirits and how one young man learns the importance of his art through a battle between light and dark.
What a perfect little powerful book.
"She smiled. 'There are always people who seek to help others find their way.' 'That's what a shaman does?' I asked. 'What about the magic?' 'That is the magic,' she said. I believed her "
Jun 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was a fine little book (really a short story). It was suspenseful and interesting, but very simple in plot and writing. It's like an early-reader chapter book for adults. I think it accomplished what it set out to do.
Mar 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
A beautifully told tale of magic and strength through the eyes of one of my favourite authors. With elements of traditional teachings and storytelling of the Ojibway people, this made for an enjoyable, quick read.
Mar 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
A lovely quick read, and gripping story. I think I would have enjoyed it even more drawn out as a longer story
(this was a specific quick-read novel)
I'm going to see if my son would enjoy it as well :)
Dec 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
review pending
Jun 18, 2016 rated it liked it
A quick, interesting read. Great for reluctant readers. It weaves a magical First Nations tale into a modern setting.
Dec 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Great, fast read. I love this author.
May 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Loved this shorter story. Didn't expect it to be a thriller. And it certainly was thrilling.
Reminiscent of Wicked Something This Way Comes.
A novella type book about facing your fears and remembering and living as your ancestors did.
Jul 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: review-books
Rapid Reads-liked the Ojibway story of good vs. evil.
Aug 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Always good to read about the light overcoming the dark in these dark times, especially when told by a master storyteller.
Dec 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this quick read by Richard Wagamese. I'm definitely going to recommend it to the reluctant and struggling readers at our school. Loved the Indigenous content and "Dream World" segments. Slightly scary . . . couldn't put it down!
rated it really liked it
Oct 30, 2013
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Richard Wagamese was one of Canada's foremost Native authors and storytellers. He worked as a professional writer since 1979. He was a newspaper columnist and reporter, radio and television broadcaster and producer, documentary producer and the author of twelve titles from major Canadian publishers.

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