The Village of the Small Houses: A Memoir of Sorts by Ian FergusonThe Village of the Small Houses: A Memoir of Sorts by Ian Ferguson

The Village of the Small Houses: A Memoir of Sorts

byIan Ferguson

Paperback | July 13, 2004

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In 1959, just one step ahead of the law, Ian Ferguson's parents left the sophisticated big-city life of Edmonton and ended up 846 km due north in Fort Vermilion, the third-poorest community in Canada. It was meant to be a temporary move. Like their neighbours, the Ferguson kids -- Ian and his six brothers and sisters -- grew up without indoor plumbing, central heating or electricity. In Village of the Small Houses, Ferguson has crafted a delightfully idiosyncratic account of growing up in the north.

Ian Ferguson is an award-winning playwright and humorist whose commentaries have been widely broadcast on radio and television. He is the creator of the live improvised soap operas Die-Nasty and Sin City and is currently writing a sitcom pilot for a major US television network. With his brother Will, he is co-author of the runaway bes...
Title:The Village of the Small Houses: A Memoir of SortsFormat:PaperbackDimensions:216 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.5 inPublished:July 13, 2004Publisher:Douglas And McIntyre (2013) Ltd.Language:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1553650697

ISBN - 13:9781553650690

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Village of the Small Houses Funny, heartbreaking, mystical—this book is all that before you get to the half-way mark. You will laugh, your solar plexus will ache with empathy, and you will wonder at the mysteries of life. It is the memoir, of sorts, of a white-man-made-Indian. The story begins with a con artist on the lam, a car chase to a hospital, and thalidomide. It carries on through a surprising and troubled birth into rugged life in the third-poorest community in Canada. It concludes with poignant memories of a mother who inspired, a father who disappointed, and friends who walked troubled paths. Two weeks ago I reviewed 419, the Giller Prize winning novel written by Ian Ferguson's brother, Will. (He's called Billy in this book.) Reading 419 reminded me of Ian's book, which I had read years ago after I heard him speak at the Canadian Authors Association CanWrite! conference in Edmonton. His keynote speech at the CAA Literary Awards event had the audience laughing from the moment he stepped up to the microphone. His date for the night was his mother. After the awards ceremony, he joined a group of us at a local restaurant. In my journal from that time I wrote: "Ian Ferguson also is a genuine pleasure to be around. A funny guy and a decent human being through and through. You can feel the "decent human being" vibes emanating from him." You can feel decent human being vibes emanating from this book, too. Ferguson might be decent, but he's also mischievous, which makes this book darned entertaining; it received the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour, after all. The finest moments come when Ferguson's devilish urges collide with his innate goodness. He is one of six children in a family in Fort Vermilion, Alberta. Even though the family is poor, the house has no running water or electricity, and Ian often runs home from school to avoid a pummeling from a childhood enemy, he describes himself as "born lucky." All things are relative, right? "My grandfather says it doesn't hurt to turn into an Indian. But he says it can hurt being an Indian." —Grandson of the Medicine Man It's a testament to Ferguson's writing skill that this book was nominated for a medal for humour when the subject matter is sometimes anything but funny. Ferguson relates the adverse circumstances of First Nations people factually, and therefore most effectively. Never preachy or off-putting, he plainly, lovingly, humorously, and above all, respectfully, introduces us to the First Nations people who saved his life and heavily influenced his life. Ferguson's close friend, Lloyd Loonskin, shows him the difference between being born lucky and being lucky to be born. ". . . these are Indian kids. It doesn't matter if you teach them or not. They don't learn much." —White school administrator in Fort Vermilion Like The Glass Castle, this memoir (of sorts) entertains even as it prompts readers to delve deeply into the human psyche. I highly recommend it.
Date published: 2013-04-24