Finished April 26
Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese
This novel follows Saul Indian Horse, a man who has hit bottom in his life, and while at a native healing centre looks back on his life to see what brought him to where he is now.
He looks back at his early life on the land with his brother, parents, grandparents, and other family members, particularly when they camp on the remote island that is special to his family.
He tells of his experience being brought to residential school, and of the priest that introduced him to hockey. Saul gradually reveals his life, those that influenced it for good and bad, those that he still feels something for, and the things that matter most to him.
Saul has natural skills for many things, and he gradually comes to accept these for what they can do for him.
This is a story of the impact of residential schools, here fictional, but real for so many. This is a story that brings some of that impact to readers in a meaningful way. This book had me laughing, crying, and touched deeply. Wagamese is a master writer, and when telling stories like this you can see that clearly. An amazing read.
A colleague urged me to take this book off my shelf where it had been lingering and once I did, I had trouble putting it down. I urge every Canadian who hasn't already read this book to do so. Besides being winning the 2013 Canada Reads People's Choice, this book was also shortlisted for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, winner of the First Nations Community Read, and on the Globe and Mail top 100 list for 2012.