Indian Horse by Richard WagameseIndian Horse by Richard Wagamese

Indian Horse

byRichard Wagamese

Paperback | January 27, 2012

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Winner of the Canada Reads People's Choice award and the First Nations Communities Reads program and short-listed for the International IMPAC DUBLIN Literary Award.

A Globe and Mail top 100 book of 2012

Saul Indian Horse is dying. Tucked away in a hospice high above the clash and clang of a big city, he embarks on a marvellous journey of imagination back through the life he led as a northern Ojibway, with all its sorrows and joys.

With compassion and insight, author Richard Wagamese traces through his fictional characters the decline of a culture and a cultural way. For Saul, taken forcibly from the land and his family when he's sent to residential school, salvation comes for a while through his incredible gifts as a hockey player. But in the harsh realities of 1960s Canada, he battles obdurate racism and the spirit-destroying effects of cultural alienation and displacement.

Indian Horse unfolds against the bleak loveliness of northern Ontario, all rock, marsh, bog and cedar. Wagamese writes with a spare beauty, penetrating the heart of a remarkable Ojibway man. Evaluated and Approved by ERAC

Richard Wagamese is Ojibway from the Wabaseemoong First Nation in Ontario. A member of the Sturgeon Clan, he is one of Canadaís foremost authors and journalists. He is the author of six novels, one collection of poetry and three memoirs. His most recent novels, Indian Horse (2012) and Medicine Walk (2014) were national bestsellers and...
Title:Indian HorseFormat:PaperbackDimensions:232 pages, 8.5 × 5.6 × 0.7 inPublished:January 27, 2012Publisher:Douglas And McIntyre (2013) Ltd.Language:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1553654021

ISBN - 13:9781553654025

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from A touching read! This book is so well written, so simultaneously warm and devastating. Wagamese masterfully combines two quintessential parts of Canada-- the dark and horrific experience of residential schools and the joyful freeing experience of playing hockey. It really is a must read from, in my opinion, one of Canada's best authors.
Date published: 2017-12-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing book! Must read for Canadians I had read this book for a course in school and I loved it. I couldn't put it down. This is a must-read for all Canadians. Wagamese does not sugar coat experiences of residential schools and racism in every day life. This is very important as it helps people to understand what Aboriginal peoples have experienced in the past and continue to experience today. Great read for adults but also teenagers as aspects of Sauls character are relatable. 10/10, would recommend to anyone.
Date published: 2017-11-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Indian Horse I read this novel because I had to teach it to my Grade 10 class, and I'm SO glad I did. I tend to read only Chick Lit novels and I don't branch out very often, because I LOVE my Chick Lit. This book pulled me in and I was enthralled with Saul's journey. It's extremely eye opening, especially considering people my age weren't taught about the horrors of the residential schools when I was in school. My students have done a really good job with this novel as well.A must read even if this isn't something you would normally choose to read!
Date published: 2017-11-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Must read! Such a beautiful and heartbreaking story. Read it for school but loved it so much I bought it for my own. Highly recommend.
Date published: 2017-10-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful story A wonderful and touching story that is well written. Saul goes through many traumatic experiences, which include attending a residential school. Sad but very well written, this is a great book.
Date published: 2017-10-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Touching Well done and enjoyable read about the tragedy a young man faces from his time at a Residential School. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2017-09-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Well Written A good book that has a great personal perspective on Residential Schools that easily connects with readers. Wasn't sure if I'd enjoy the book but the messages it conveys are well done and the main character is well rounded and sympathetic.
Date published: 2017-09-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Highly recommended What a beautifully written and incredibly sad story, but also one with hope. Not knowing much about the story, I had assumed this book was only about the character's experience with the residential school system. This is a huge part of it, but it is so much more than that. It is a story that will stay with me for a long time and has inspired me to read more from Indigenous authors and learn more about the culture. My only criticism - if you would even call it that - is that I would have liked more detail about the period of Saul's life from his late teens through his early thirties. This is the latter part of the book and seemed a bit rushed. I think that critique speaks more to the quality of Wagamese's writing and the story itself though. I was completely immersed. I strongly recommended this book ~ maybe even required reading in high schools.
Date published: 2017-09-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A wonderful surprise I am not into hockey but I was impressed by the author's ability to drag me in and have me fascinated by every description. The story is a sad one of residential schools, racism and their impact on a young life. Heartbreaking.
Date published: 2017-09-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Important read Assigned this book for a university class, it's better than I expected and quite touching.
Date published: 2017-09-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Highly recommended! Wagamese is a great author! This book makes you feel all sorts of emotions and shows the true horrors and lasting effects of residential schools.
Date published: 2017-09-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Should be required reading for every high school student in Canada Wagamese is definitely one of my favourite authors. I made my whole family read this one including my teenage nephews...who don't read much! I would highly recommend this book.
Date published: 2017-08-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely Amazing Was required to read for a course, and fell in love with it. Such a beautiful story that was very touching. Would highly recommend to everyone!
Date published: 2017-08-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Important It's a book that wonderfully tells of the horrors of residential schools. Confronts the reader with reality, and definitely inspires compassion. This is important literature for Canada
Date published: 2017-08-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Highly recommended If you're looking for a novel about the residential school system in Canada, definitely pick this one up. The content is horrifying, Wagamese's writing is beautiful, and this book is full of heart.
Date published: 2017-08-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Powerful and amazing This book I had to read for my Class at school and I loved to read unlike most other people in the class that kept complaining (It was an Indigenous studies class) When I was reading though the book it shocked me at points and also at other times it made me angry (which is a sign of a truly great book) It was so good in fact that I actually ordered the book and now own the book for myself to look back and read to. I would recommend everyone should haft to read this book
Date published: 2017-07-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Heart-Wrenching Read This story starts out slowly with the author's upbringing and paints a vivid picture of how the residential school era disturbed the collective identity of indigenous persons in Canada. I would highly recommend this read.
Date published: 2017-07-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very eye-opening I was recommended this book by my English tutor. I was looking for a book that was non-biased or seemingly overly dramatised about the history between the First Nation's people and the residential schools. This book did not only give me more than enough information for my project but it was so well crafted and written that I could not put it down. Legit stayed up until 3 in the morning, reading the last 75% of the book. Worth a read!
Date published: 2017-07-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very strong Such a powerful story- I loved it
Date published: 2017-05-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Residential School Survivor shows the trauma of one your boys journey from a residential school to finding a way out. though a troublesome life he makes it his own and a painful but happy life
Date published: 2017-05-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Powerful story Beautifully written with strong and compelling characters.
Date published: 2017-05-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very powerful I knew nothing about this book or the author, but a friend was reading it and recommended it. He is a great writer and the story is very powerful. He proficiently portrays the deep sadness and horrors that were inflicted upon thousands of First Nations children. A must read!
Date published: 2017-04-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from amaaaaazing i had to read this book for school in tenth grade. not only was it extremely informational, it was also very interesting and captivating. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-04-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book This is an amazing story. I found it both enthralling and gripping
Date published: 2017-03-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Moving Read Powerful book about residential schools... Students (especially guys) in grade 9-10 would find this book insightful in connection with what is taught in Social Studies in BC.
Date published: 2017-03-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Powerful this book is powerful and has an important message - everyone should read it!
Date published: 2017-03-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! This book was recommended to me by a friend, and I loved it. Definitely one of my favourite books.
Date published: 2017-02-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Read! One of my favourite books to read by far!
Date published: 2017-01-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Must Read As an teacher of English Literature, I have read my fair share of novels. Only recently have I been introduced to Richard Wagamese. He has a gift that must be shared with all avid readers. This novel is a thin filament linking together hope and horror. The last 2 chapters left me crying for 2 totally different reasons; one made me so angry at how consistently western ideology thinks it can better the lives of indigenous people. I learned so much from this novel and Wagamese has gained a fan for life. This should be in the curriculum of every school board in Canada!!
Date published: 2017-01-14
Rated 3 out of 5 by from nice i didn't like it so much. A big cliche, a bit lagging on. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-01-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Twist This book is a great commentary on the sport of hockey and the historical wrongs of residential schools. A great Canadian story.
Date published: 2016-12-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Heartbreaking An absolutely heartbreaking and beautiful story of resilience.
Date published: 2016-11-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent novel Wagamese's writing draws you in. Unsuspecting climax!
Date published: 2016-11-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Beautifully Crafted Tale of Resilience This book brilliantly portrayed the mechanisms used by Saul Indian Horse to endure his seemingly unendurable life and the pathos he faced as those mechanisms were stripped away and he was forced to come to terms with his lifetime of misfortune. This book is a raw and wonderfully crafted novel that exposes the mistreatment faced by thousands who attended Indian Residential Schools and it's lingering affects on the soul. This dark chapter in Canada's history served as the perfect setting for the author to explore themes of racism and resilience. When Saul Indian Horses brother Benjamin returns from Residential School his family moves to Gods Lake to embark on a quest of healing. When Benjamin succumbs to TB, Saul's immediate family leave Gods Lake to give Benjamin a 'proper burial'; leaving Saul alone with his grandmother. When Saul's family doesn't return, he and his grandmother battle with the cold winter to try to reach civilization. Upon their return, Saul's grandmother dies of hypothermia and Saul is swept away to Saint Jerome's Indian Residential School. In the hellish depths of Saint Jerome's Saul finds solace and clarity in Hockey. A shocking expose' of Canada's not-so-distant past, 'Indian Horse' is a must-read.
Date published: 2016-03-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow- a must read! Indian Horse is the story of deep sadness and trauma inflicted upon thousands of First Nations people's at the hands of (Canadian) religious (and political leaders). The writing is exquisite, conjuring up both visions of the North in its raw beauty and the horrors of life for the children placed in residential schools. Out of the desperate despair though, hope springs forth as the main character discovers the freedom of hockey. While I'm not a hockey fan myself, I could easily relate to how a passion for something could carry one through the very worst of times. As other reviewers have suggested I think that Indian Horse needs to be on the reading list of every Canadian high school student. This is a story that must be heard.
Date published: 2015-09-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Indian Horse broke and mended my heart With Indian Horse, Richard Wagamese once again has demonstrated his incredible talent at using words to paint a work of art. His picture is at the same time, raw, incredibly painful, and breathtakingly beautiful. For the first and only time in a life of voracious reading, I had to step away from the story for a few days while my emotions settled. It is an amazing book; one that should be required reading in our high schools and universities.
Date published: 2015-08-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Dark Past Brought to Life I read this book for my Toastmaster Book Club. I never made it to the meeting but one of my fellow members lent me a copy to read. I am glad she did. The residential schools is a big topic in Canada. This novel follows the life of Saul Indian Horse from life as little boy with his family in the backwoods of North Western Ontario to being a drunk on the streets of Winnipeg. He is a residential school for awhile. He is a rising hockey star. Then he has nothing. I really enjoyed this book. The character development of Saul is excellent. He is a character that you can root for and get angry with all at the same time. The supporting characters are also developed enough to keep the story going. The surprise at the end put everything into perspective. My only wish is that author could have continued the story to let us know how Saul managed once he left the treatment centre. Maybe it is best we don't know. I would recommend this book to anyone. Especially if you want to understand the suffering and abuse the residential school survivors went through. This book will help you understand. This should be required reading for all that want to deal with the First Nations People of Canada.
Date published: 2015-05-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Indian Horse Beautifully written from the heart. Saul is a hero and inspiration of- for survival. A very good read!
Date published: 2015-03-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Indian H0rse This book broke my heart. It is hard to comprehend the suffering endured by the children taken away from their families. Too bad eveeyone couldn't read this and gain understanding of the torment inflicted on innocent lives. Gripping and hard to put down.
Date published: 2015-03-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Indian Horse Excellent book and story. Helped me understand the people I looked down on. I have a drop of native blood in me,something I did not want anyone to know but it now seems that is part of me, who I am, I will never look at a drunken Indian the same way again.
Date published: 2014-04-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it Such a great book, one review called it "medicine for the soul" I completely agree. I'd like to thank the author for writing this book. :)
Date published: 2013-11-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I don't think you need to be a hockey fan to like this book The book is set mostly in the 1950s and 1960s. Residential schools were set up by Christian groups to rid the Indians of their language and culture. Saul Indian Horse is still a little boy when he loses his entire family and is taken to a residential school in Ontario. While there, he teaches himself to play hockey and loses himself in the game. He becomes an amazing player and hockey continues to be his life when a family “adopts” him into their home and brings him out of the residential school after 7 years there. The book follows Saul as he becomes an adult, and everything he goes through. To be honest, I wasn't completely sure what I would think of this book, but I was really impressed. This was really good. Hockey was an important part of the book, but I don't think you need to be a hockey fan to like the book. (I should add, though, that I used to be a big hockey fan, though it's been a long time since I've been interested.) There are sections of the book where the descriptions of the hockey do dominate, but I think there is enough of a story otherwise to keep even those who don't like hockey interested.
Date published: 2013-09-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautifully and sparingly written A CBC Canada Reads book, top 100 Globe and Mail listed, critically acclaimed, much discussed, Richard Wagamese's novel Indian Horse is deserving not only of accolades but your time. This is simply an excellent, fundamentally Canadian novel, beautifully and sparingly written, with grace, poise, banked passion and heartbreaking insight. Although a work of fiction, Wagamese draws from the lives of people he has known and lost, and because of that resonates with much earlier works by other great authors who wrote about similar struggles: John Howard Griffin's seminal work, Black Like Me, and even the now classic novel by Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird. Wagamese tells the story of Saul Indian Horse, from happy Ojibway boy in Canada's bush, to bitter urban man who is flotsam in the wreckage created by white oppression, residential school brutality and hypocritical Canadian society. But this is also a story of discovery, of hope, of healing. And should be required reading for every individual in this nation. Much of Saul's insight and struggle revolves around the boon and bane of hockey, which in essence becomes a metaphor for his life. His triumphs on the ice are the triumphs of his soul. His defeats and destruction at the hands of players and fans is his defeat in residential school, the logging camps and mines. The epiphany and vision he finds in hockey, is the epiphany and vision he finds for his own life. One universe coexists in tandem with the other. And all of this told in a highly readable and compelling manner. If you haven't already read Indian Horse I urge you to go out right now and purchase a copy.
Date published: 2013-08-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from loved it! This story followed Saul Indian Horse throughout his life. Beginning when he lived in the bush with his family, following him to a residential school and on to his adult addiction to alcohol. The writing was amazing, so descriptive it felt like I was there and could see and smell the forest, the rinks and the the lakes. This story showed the destruction of not only an individual but of an entire group of people. It showed the effects of separating someone from there culture, there family and of suffering extreme abuse and trauma inflicted by adults. It was emotional and shocking. The story line could be owned by many individuals who were in residential schools. I couldn't put this book down once I started reading it. It was fantastic
Date published: 2013-07-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Harrowing … for first and last third Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese was a finalist in 2013's Canada Reads. Having worked for fourteen years on an Ojibway reserve in northern Wisconsin, I was fascinated by the novel's opening chapters about the young Ojibway boy Saul Indian Horse and his grandmother in northern Ontario, their life in the bush, and their terror of the residential schools. The author skilfully depicts the horror of those schools – a dark and poisonous chapter in both Canadian and US history, with a tragic legacy that lives on today. I was less engrossed by the middle chapters. Too much hockey for me and, unlike the beginning and end of the novel, the middle chapters read like an autobiography – the tension wasn't dramatized. And yet all in all, a satisfying read.
Date published: 2013-06-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from healing through telling Wagamese, a skilled writer, tells the story of Saul Indian Horse. Taken by force from his family and placed in a residential school he knows only abuse until he discovers the game of hockey. The sport creates a time of magic, an escape from the horrors of residential life, and it is through the game that Saul eventually reconnects with his culture. A powerful and compassionate rendering.
Date published: 2013-03-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A great read! I heard about this book on CBC and I was intrigued by its subject matter. The book details Saul Indian Horse's experience in the residential school system and his love of hockey. And, I was not disappointed. I was riveted by Saul's story and could not put the book down. It is a story of tragedy, survival and hope, elegantly told. I have passed the book on to my 15 year old son, a hockey player, in hopes that he too will be as moved by Richard Wagamese's wonderful writing as I was.
Date published: 2013-03-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved how it is written and get caught up in Saul's story Indian Horse is one story of Saul Indian Horse who is in rehab and needs to tell of his story in order to know who he is and where he came from. He grew up on the land in Northern Ontario/Manitoba with his family and was later taken to residential school; whereby he got to know about hockey and other First Nations kids in these schools. You see Saul as a fighter even though smaller than the others and trying hard to overcome challenges within, but focused on bettering himself to allow freedom on the ice. An opportunity gives him a home and a team to play hockey, his freedom. But as life has it, it throws him a couple curveballs that has him winded and is dealing with anger of things of his past that he finally lets himself process. Thoroughly enjoyed reading this story!
Date published: 2013-01-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Powerful and mind challenging. Wagamese manages to skillfully and poetically frame the sins committed by the Canadian Residential School system around the game this country loves. Saul Indian Horse finds escape from the harsh and unforgiving brutality of his residential school in the game of hockey. While the game appears to save him and he is looking at a promising NHL career, the abuse suffered at the school and the further abuse visited upon him as an Indian playing what is considered a white man's game are enough to destroy the dream and send him spiralling into the dead end world of the alcoholic. The game becomes a metaphor for life and reminds us of the importance of family, friendship and community in giving us reason for going on with life each day.Wagamese does not point any fingers but presents the awful abuse visited upon our aboriginal children and the scars they carry to this day. Their perceived shame is our shame and only our acknowledgement of this tragically sinful past will allow some future grace and hope to somehow redeem our future. Indian Horse has a more than credible chance of winning "Canada Reads."
Date published: 2013-01-09

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Editorial Reviews

“Indian Horse is a force for healing in our beautiful, broken world.”Kathleen Winter, author of Annabel "This book is so many things; it is a mystical tale; it is an ode to the good old hockey game and its power to lift players above their situations; it is a story of a system that fails and fails its children in horrifying ways; it is a story of healing...This is ultimately a hopeful and beautiful book and I recommend it heartily." -- Guelph Mercury "Wagamese has written one of the rarest sorts of books: a novel which is both important and a heart-in-throat pleasure." -- Edmonton Journal "Wagamese's compelling novel harnesses two quintessentially Canadian themes, hockey and colonialism, to create an exhilarating and heart-breaking story. Indian Horse reads like 'powerful medicine, allowing vital teachings to be shared.'" -- Briar Patch Magazine