Saul Indian Horse is a child when his family retreats into the woods. Among the lakes and the cedars, they attempt to reconnect with half-forgotten traditions and hide from the authorities who have been kidnapping Ojibway youth. But when winter approaches, Saul loses everything : his brother, his parents, his beloved grandmother—and then his home itself. Alone in the world and placed in a horrific boarding school, Saul is surrounded by violence and cruelty. At the urging of a priest, he finds a tentative salvation in hockey. Rising at dawn to practice alone, Saul proves determined and gifted. Yet as his victories mount, so do the indignities and the taunts, the racism and the hatred—the harshness of a world that will never welcome him. Spare and compact yet undeniably rich, Indian Horse is at once a heartbreaking account of a dark chapter in our history and a moving coming-of-age story. Indian Horse distills much of what Wagamese has been writing about for his whole career into a clearer and sharper liquor, both more bitter and more moving than he has managed in the past. He is such a master of empathy - of delineating the experience of time passing, of lessons being learned, of tragedies being endured - that what Saul discovers becomes something the reader learns, as well, shocking and alien, valuable and true.
Richard Wagamese—Indian Horse - A Novel