The Englishman's Boy

Paperback | September 13, 1997

byGuy Vanderhaeghe

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The Englishman’s Boy brilliantly links together Hollywood in the 1920s with one of the bloodiest, most brutal events of the nineteenth-century Canadian West – the Cypress Hills Massacre. Vanderhaeghe’s rendering of the stark, dramatic beauty of the western landscape and of Hollywood in its most extravagant era – with its visionaries, celebrities, and dreamers – provides vivid background for scenes of action, adventure, and intrigue. Richly textured, evocative of time and place, this is an unforgettable novel about power, greed, and the pull of dreams that has at its centre the haunting story of a young drifter – “the Englishman’s boy” – whose fate, ultimately, is a tragic one.


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From Our Editors

What do 1920s Hollywood and the Canadian West's Cypress Hills Massacre have in common? They provide the vivid background of Guy Vanderhaeghe's masterfully crafted novel, The Englishman's Boy. Richly textured, this epic novel weaves together the stories of two men - a young drifter and a crippled journalist - separated by time and place...

From the Publisher

The Englishman’s Boy brilliantly links together Hollywood in the 1920s with one of the bloodiest, most brutal events of the nineteenth-century Canadian West – the Cypress Hills Massacre. Vanderhaeghe’s rendering of the stark, dramatic beauty of the western landscape and of Hollywood in its most extravagant era – with its visionaries, c...

Guy Vanderhaeghe was born in Esterhazy, Saskatchewan, in 1951. He is the author of four novels, My Present Age (1984), Homesick (1989), co-winner of the City of Toronto Book Award, The Englishman’s Boy (1996), winner of the Governor General’s Award for Fiction and the Saskatchewan Book Awards for Fiction and for Best Book of the Year, ...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:344 pages, 8.39 × 5.39 × 0.65 inPublished:September 13, 1997Publisher:McClelland & StewartLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:077108692X

ISBN - 13:9780771086922

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Vanderhaeghe's masterful storytelling Vanderhaeghe's novel "The Englishman's Boy" is a well written, well crafted novel. Using accurate historical elements of both the 1920's in Hollywood and of the Cypress Hills Massacre of the late 1800 (approx. 1873), Vanderhaege is able to weave both stories, while very different in both content and subject, together with such a masterful flair. He takes themes common in both stories, laying these as his foundation, and continues to unfold two remarkably different, yet intriging stories. By juxtaposing these two stories, Vanderhaege allows the reader to switch back and forth, while not being confused, and wondering the whole time when the two parrallels of the story will eventually meet. It is at that point that the apex of the story is fully realized.
Date published: 2001-01-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Where has this man been hiding? Why isn't Guy Vanderhaeghe more famous than he is? I am no great fan of the Western genre, but this book completely astonished me, particularly by the fact that of the two stories interwoven throughout the novel, I much preferred the Western! This book has made me a fan of Guy Vanderhaeghe, as I am sure of many others who have had the pleasure of reading "The Englishman's Boy", or any of his short story collections. Definitely recommended for the non-Western reader like myself.
Date published: 2000-01-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Better on the Radio The publicity surrounding this book was recommendation enough, so why did I find it so difficult staying interested in this novel? True, this book is about two interconnected stories centered around the so-called wild west. But it seemed that every time a story started getting interesting the author dropped it and picked up the other. I've heard this novel read on CBC radio and had only marginally better luck staying interested.
Date published: 1999-12-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Englishman's Boy From the rise of Hollywood and the beginning of the myth of the Old West, Vanderhaeghe deftly transports readers into Shorty McAdoo's story -one which vividly illustrates the fact that Hollywood's ascendancy directly reflects the decline of the real West. The West that Shorty knows so well has little if anything to do with the Cowboys and Indians world Hollywood had begun to create. Far richer in scope, and painted in much subtler shades than the black-and-white movie screens of the 1920s could ever recreate, Shorty's world is one which readers will find both startling and familiar.
Date published: 1999-05-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from American mythology as seen by a Canadian Vanderhaeghe's skill with dialogue is astonishing. You can hear this book as you read it; it's almost like watching a movie. A Western, in this case. Interesting how it takes a Canadian to get to the heart of two of America's greatest mythologies: The Wild West, and Hollywood. Excellent book.
Date published: 1999-03-08

Extra Content

From Our Editors

What do 1920s Hollywood and the Canadian West's Cypress Hills Massacre have in common? They provide the vivid background of Guy Vanderhaeghe's masterfully crafted novel, The Englishman's Boy. Richly textured, this epic novel weaves together the stories of two men - a young drifter and a crippled journalist - separated by time and place. Critically acclaimed, this historical novel of control, gluttony and the pull of dreams won Vanderhaeghe the Governor General's Award for Fiction and was shortlisted for the Giller Prize.

Editorial Reviews

“It is a wonder and a glory – written by a man who has plundered the language for all its treasures. The story of the Englishman’s boy and his journey into hell and back is absolutely riveting.”–Timothy Findley“The Englishman’s Boy is one of the finest historical novels ever written by a Canadian, an impossible-to-put-down adventure story that also packs some keen insights into the way civilization works.…”–Maclean’s“A vital and important novel with a bitterly coruscating message at its heart. Read it now.”–Edmonton Journal“A great accomplishment.”–Richard Ford“A stunning performance. Highly enjoyable. I couldn’t put it down.”–Mordecai Richler“The canvas is broad, the writing is vivid, and the two story-lines are deftly interwoven to contrast cinematic ‘truth’ with history as it happened. An intense and original piece of writing.”–The Bookseller (U.K.)“A richly textured epic that passes with flying colors every test that could be applied for good storytelling.”–Saskatoon StarPhoenix“Characters and landscapes are inscribed on the mind’s eye in language both startling and lustrous.”–Globe and Mail“Vanderhaeghe succeeds at a daring act: he juggles style and stories with the skill of a master.…”–Financial Post“There isn’t a dull moment.”–Toronto Sun“A fine piece of storytelling, which, like all serious works of literature, as it tells its tale connects us to timeless human themes.”–Winnipeg Sun“The Great Canadian Western.”–Canadian Forum“Thematically, this is a big book, an important book, about history and truth, brutality and lies.”–Georgia Straight“A compelling read.”–Halifax Daily News“Vanderhaeghe shows himself to be as fine a stylist as there is writing today.”–Ottawa CitizenFrom the Hardcover edition.