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Archive: Other Books > Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese - 5 stars

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message 1: by Booknblues (last edited Dec 15, 2018 06:10PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Booknblues | 6204 comments Richard Wagamese could end up being one of those authors who I have to read everything he has written. After reading Medicine Walk last month and giving it 5 stars, I noticed that Indian Horse was on several Best Books of 2018 lists and decided that I should read it.

Wagamese writes about the Native American experience with such depth of emotion and insight that I can breath the pain. He also includes a great sense of beauty and an understanding, which I always appreciate in a writer. He isn't a flowery writer but earthbound and I just love that style.

Now more about Indian Horse, Saul Indian Horse is a young Objiwe, who tragically loses his family and is sent to an Indian School. He says about his people:

Our ancestors learned to travel easily through territories that the Zhaunagush, the white man, later feared and sought our help to navigate. Our talk rolls and tumbles like the rivers that served as our roads. Our legends tell of how we emerged from the womb of our Mother the Earth; Aki is the name we have for her. We sprang forth intact, with Aki’s heartbeat thrumming in our ears, prepared to become her stewards and protectors. When I was born our people still talked this way. We had not yet stepped beyond the influence of our legends. That was a border my generation crossed, and we pine for a return that has never come to be.

The atrocities of the Indian School are imprinted on the children's souls and it literally hurts to read it. As a child, Saul was such a brave boy, who did all he could to insulate himself from the damages caused by the school. He soon found a love of hockey and a gift of it and hockey saved him and helped him find a way out .

The edge of those mornings always caught at my lungs. The air was so cold and so pure it was hard to breathe. But I’d huff a breath or two and stamp my feet to get the blood moving and then walk slowly around the school and beyond the barn to where the rink stood. It was a purple world with only the varying degrees of light from the moon that allowed me to see. I’d get my shovel from where I’d stashed it in the snow, and I’d begin. I’d start at one side and push the snow to the foot of the boards that faced out to the field. Once the rink was scraped clear, I’d work my way along the length of the boards, pitching the snow piles over. I loved the feeling of my heaving breath and the clouds of fog that swirled around my head. I’d sweat.

I don't watch hockey, I am not a fan, but Wagamese brought it alive. This is so much more than a coming of age book or a hockey book or a book about Native Americans. I loved it and I encourage you to give it a try.


Jgrace | 2945 comments I agree with you 100%. I am sure I will read more of his books next year.

I may give this one to my daughter for Christmas, Embers: One Ojibway's Meditations (and buy one for myself)


Booknblues | 6204 comments Jgrace wrote: "I agree with you 100%. I am sure I will read more of his books next year.

I may give this one to my daughter for Christmas, Embers: One Ojibway's Meditations (and buy one for myself)"


That sounds good. I'm really excited about discovering him. Thanks to you.


LibraryCin | 8639 comments I really liked this one. I've not read anything else by him. Maybe I should try "Medicine Walk"...


message 5: by Idit (new)

Idit | 1028 comments Never heard of him, but that sounds great! Thanks for adding to my =out of control= TBR


message 6: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 6012 comments Adding Wagamese to my tbr. Thank you!


Tracy (tstan) | 1208 comments I’ve got this one- time to read it!


Booknblues | 6204 comments Sadly, Wagamese died this past year. He is so talented.

I think both Medicine Walk and Indian Horse are excellent books.

If parenting were to win for January, Medicine Walk would be an excellent choice, because it is about an adolescent, Franklin Starlight and his father. Franklin Starlight is such an excellent character. He is one you just fall in love with.

Indian Horse with Saul Indian Horseas the main character is about the Canadian Indian Schools. It is very painful, but in the end hopeful. If you are at all sensitive about abuse, it should probably be avoided. I initially gave it 4 stars, because I didn't love the main character as much as Franklin, even though Saul is a very interesting character and well, hockey. Writing my review, I realized how haunted I was by this book.


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

Wonderful review. I have not read this but it sounds so interesting.


Booknblues | 6204 comments Rachel wrote: "Wonderful review. I have not read this but it sounds so interesting."

I think you would like it.


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