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Daddy Lenin and Other Stories

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  320 ratings  ·  58 reviews
Bestselling author Guy Vanderhaeghe’s new book of fiction is both timely and timeless and showcases his supreme talent as a storyteller and poignant observer of the human condition.

Among these nine addictive and resonant stories: A teenage boy breaks out of the strict confines of his family, his bid for independence leads him in over his head. He learns about life in shor
Paperback, 272 pages
Published February 23rd 2016 by Emblem Editions (first published April 7th 2015)
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3.79  · 
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 ·  320 ratings  ·  58 reviews

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Glenn Sumi
My first book of 2016 was a winner! Quite literally!

Daddy Lenin And Other Stories recently won the Governor General’s Award for fiction, one of Canada’s top literary prizes.

It was the third such honour for author Guy Vanderhaeghe (the only others to do this are Alice Munro, Michael Ondaatje and Hugh MacLennan), and it’s very deserving. These are clear, unpretentious stories about white, middle-aged men facing big crises or looking back on life-changing events when they were boys or young adults.
May 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Daddy Lenin is a collection of very manly stories, in the best sense of that word. Mostly populated by mid- to late-middle-aged men, these nine short stories examine – through interior monologues, dredged up memories, and pressure-filled present-day situations – what it is to be a (white, middle-classed Canadian) man alive today, and it ain't no bed of roses.

The two stories that bookend the collection highlight the progression of the modern man: In the first, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, a teen
Jul 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Almost to a person, the protagonists of the nine stories comprising Guy Vanderhaeghe's haunting new short story collection Daddy Lenin are imbued with failure. They've failed or are on the verge of failing in ways big and small, from how they've navigated family and business and marriages, or not, to how they've neglected to properly appreciate or recognize someone or something until it was perhaps too late. Vanderhaeghe offers piercing moments of awareness and self-awareness, balanced precisely ...more
Mar 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was really fantastic. I was lucky to get an advance copy from the goodreads first reads program. The vast majority of these short stories were excellent. They were gripping, fast paced and even with the short story format I felt like I really had an opportunity to connect and care about the characters. I felt like the writing was extremely well done and I really enjoyed the Canadian connection in many of the stories. There were 2 stories that I didn't connect with, thus the 4 star rati ...more
Apr 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Except for the first of nine stories in this collection, they couldn't have been written by a less mature man. Vanderhaeghe's exquisitely written tales dwell on young men but often from the perspective of middle age. As a whole they illustrate how decisions and actions made while young manifest throughout life. Each is uniquely memorable.

I squirmed while Billy resisted Sabrina's invitation to the graduation dance. I winced when Tony became Tonio and acted his way into an awkward situation. I hel
I enjoyed some of the stories extremely well ("Koenig & Company" for example) but the majority left me unmoved. Vanderhaeghe takes a retrospective approach to telling these stories, so all of his narrators seem to be looking back on their lives and bemoaning some event or another, which is one of my least favourite tropes of the short story genre. Also there are a lot of late-middle-aged men who are frankly quite pathetic in one way or another, which is fine for one story but gets a bit repe ...more
Steven Buechler
May 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The beauty of a good piece of literature is the ability to empathize with the plight of the characters. A good writer can make a reader relate to the people he is talking about in a few simple words. Guy Vanderhaeghe is one such writer with that skill and he brings that skill forward repeatedly in his latest collection called Daddy Lenin And Other Stories.
Sep 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collection of short stories is very good: the characters feel real and are distressingly and authentically flawed. GV can paint a picture of words of the human condition.

It was neat to experience some great fictional tales set in Saskatoon.

I like GV's work that I've read so far (Homesick was 5 stars for me) and will keep reading!
Backwater Review
Guy Vanderhaeghe built his early reputation as a short story writer. His debut collection, Man Descending, secured him the first of two Governor General Awards in a career that has also garnered him shortlist nods for both the Giller and the Dublin IMPACT, among his many accolades. Arguably, his current reputation among readers is staked upon his more recent loose trilogy of novels, which terminated in The Last Crossing. Daddy Lenin marks Vanderhaeghe’s return to the short story genre after a tw ...more
Nov 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
All these 2015 Canadian lit award books have sort of fallen into my lap, and I've found the three short story collections to be rather enjoyable to varying degrees. This one was my favourite by quite a margin.

here we have short stories about men, often living in or reflecting back on their pasts in small Western Canadian towns. I wouldn't call this a "fun" book because the tales usually leave one with a rather bleak, depressed feeling, but the stories of intense characters and their explosions o
Jul 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This award winning collection of short stories was an excellent example of high quality Canadian literature. With the backdrop of the Canadian prairies, the 9 stories explore an overarching theme of how a midlife crisis moment can create a collision course of past and present relationships for the central character- a seemingly down on his luck older gentleman. Though similar sketch of a main character was used, the stories did not feel repetitive. Good read!
May 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
All stories are exceptionally well written. They remind me of Updike' s. Great psychological insights in the characters. Why Is this author not more popular?
Ronald Kelland
Feb 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As usual, another great book by Guy Vanderhaeghe, this one a collection of short stories. These stories all seem to be about men at crucial moments in their life; teenagers coming of age, such as in "The Jimi Hendrix Experience", "1957 Chevy Bel Air", "Koeing &Company" and "Where the Bots Were" and older men facing the end of disappointing careers, as in "Tick Tock", "Live Large", "Daddy Lenin" "Anything" and "Counsellor Sally Brings Me to the Tunnel". In all of the stories the protagonists ...more
Aug 27, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This is my first time reading Vanderhaeghe and I picked up this particular collection of short stories because it won the 2015 Governor General’s literary award. Each story is tightly constructed with efficient use of language and fully developed characters. Structurally and thematically, the stories all feel rather similar - a male protagonist looks back either longingly or broodingly to an earlier point in his life. While strongly written and page turning in the moment, the stories themselves ...more
Robert LeBlanc
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Superbly written. Each story is full of life. I really enjoyed how Vanderhaeghe strayed away from the cookie cutter templates and gave the character real life. There are lots of themes explored in the stories especially, it seemed, failure. It seemed each story had some sexuality in it. Maybe they didn't all have it but it was a recurring thing. The author showed people with all the faults and the things that make us human and did so in very interesting and well written stories
Daniel Kukwa
Feb 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadian-lit
An intense little collection of stories about various aspects of developing masculinity, sometimes in toxic form. It's full of anger, regret, frustration...and a bit of comedy in just the right places. Each tale is surprising, and the overall collection radiates the powerful awkwardness of men trying to find a place for themselves.
Aug 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collection contains several stories that were truly incredible and several that were sadly disappointing. My favourite might be "Tick Tock" which was moving and suspenseful.

Even in the worst of the stories it's clear that Vanderhaeghe is an excellent writer.
A solid collection of short stories. While very androcentric, the stories nonetheless do a great job of capturing various aspects of the human condition with a delightful mix of compassion and cynicism.

I am looking forward to reading other works by this author.
Bennison Smith
May 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To read Vanderhaeghe is to observe a master at work
Zachary Keesey
“ thing led to another, and now twelve months later [Eva and Brewster] found themselves peevishly staggering to the end of something that should never have started in the first place.” (p. 30)
Nov 29, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some stories were at a 2.5 and some were 4s but as that was not the majority, I landed on a 3. A talented writer and when it all works, the stories are memorable and how often can we say that!
Kyle B
Jun 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a disclaimer, I absolutely adore the dirty realism approach to fiction. Ford, McCarthy, Carver are responsible for a number of my favourite reads. I am ready to add Guy Vanderhaeghe to that list.

This collection of stories feels like something that could have been produced by any of the greats above. At the heart of these is a deep and intricate self-reflection of each of the main characters, all of them men (of varying ages, though most come from working class backgrounds) suffering from a su
Nov 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think 4 stars is generous, but in the end, justifiable.
I heard about this book from CBC Books website (He won the Governor General award this year, again).

I really didn't like the first story. It seemed well-written (word-pictures, mood) but I didn't really know what was going on with some of the characters. (Drugs? Maybe - since the story is called "The Jimi Hendrix Experience").

I thought that first story was going to affect how I read the rest, and I was prepared to dislike the rest.
Steven Langdon
Jul 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have to confess that I do not usually enjoy books of short stories. But this book won Canada's Governor General's 2015 award for English fiction -- plus the author's novels set in Western Canada are magnificent. So eventually I gave this book a try -- and am very glad I did.

Not that these are easy stories, or designed to divert. Vanderhaeghe gives us a grim world, full of brooding men, trying to cope with lives that are often demeaning, sometimes violent. But the tough challenges his character
Karen Nesbitt
Feb 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Guy Vanderhaeghe's writing - it packs a punch. His fiction is always alive and kicking on the page, his characters gritty and flawed, but relatable. A good dose of local Saskatoon geography and landmarks kept me entertained. I prefer Guy's historical novels, but there are some real gems here!
Nov 24, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are some excellent stories in this collection all of which are told without a display of fireworks or mind-blowing plot-twists....which is kinda what I've always loved about this author's writing.

For me, there was an overtly masculine feel to this collection which kept me at arms length. The stories often had a protagonist male portrayed as a kind of alpha-personality, a sort of maleness that feels antiquated and out of touch with modernity, almost like the author was writing a Cowboy int
Sep 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not often a reader of collections of short stories, but recommend this one. Did have to read Daddy Lenin first, which is actually placed at the end. Although the stories are all linked by themes, there is no common character although they are all men's stories.I think they are mainly powerful and poignant reflections on life, on what experiences had an impact and how they affected one's maturing and adult life, from the perspective of the losses and gains as one approaches middle age and pot ...more
Mark Edlund
Nov 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Short story collection
I have all of his novels and thought I would take a stab at his stories. They were great. There was even a story set on a golf course. However, I felt almost all of the stories could have been much longer. They all seemed to end too soon with a lot of plot left to go.
As he is a Canadian writer (and from Saskatoon) there were too many Canadian references to count.
Two pharmacy references - character gets a scrip filled for Tylenol #3; character buys cosmetics at a pharmacy.
Dec 27, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my first time reading anything by Guy Vanderhaeghe. I found it very easy to imagine in detail the settings of his various stories. Small prairie towns, members-only golf courses, and remote cottages, among others. Impressive, considering the length of the stories.

I enjoyed this collection, but didn't find it to be anything truly special. However, I think Vanderhaeghe is a strong writer, and look forward to reading some of his other works, specifically The Last Crossing.

My favourites from
Jul 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved every one of these stories except for the last one, the one the book is named for "Daddy Lenin". I found the earlier stories full of recognizable people. Daddy Lenin read like a story written to be analyzed, written for university students to read the foreshadowing and not for the enjoyment or to inform the reader.

I really wish this story had not been put as the last story in the book, because it left me with negative feelings for a book that I really enjoyed up to there.
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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