Powerful writing. It is as though the writer is in the head of each character. His characters have soul with energy that leaps through the pages. Definitely a must read. Unfortunately the author died at age 61, far too early for such a brilliant writer.
This was on the "new" shelf at my library so was surprised to find out that it was first published in 2006. Beautiful story, beautifully written. Draws you into the heart of the cowboy, the heart of being Native American, the heart of a strong family. I have only been to one rodeo and I found it to be so violent I've never been to another. So I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book. The descriptions of the bull riding brings a majestic, athletic artistry to it. It's described from both the rider and the bull's point of view. Mostly this is a story of Joe Willie's healing of his body and mind, and Aiden's discovery of what path he wants to walk in life. Great characters, good symbolism, scenic setting - really liked this book.
It took awhile to get into the book, but I did enjoy it.
This book is set in Western Canada -- it is deliberately vague in setting, it could be a ranch in Alberta or in Montana, there are no specific towns or locations to tie it to. Despite that, it has a strong sense of place. The landscape, the work they do, the trails they ride and mountains that surround them are everpresent.
The story focuses on Joe Willie Wolfchild, a rodeo bull rider and as they say, a true Indian Cowboy. There are many topics that interweave in this novel: Native identity, family, belonging, purpose.
Overall I was glad I picked it up. It was different from anything I've read lately, and gave me another way of seeing life. There were some issues I had with it, specifically the beatific presentation of the women in it, at least the women in the Wolfchild family. And I did find the characters to nearly all speak in the same way, making it a bit difficult to ascertain who was speaking at times.
But it did inspire me to seek out Richard Wagamese's blog, A Writer's World, which is full of beautifully written thoughts on his life.
This story deals with the growth and maturing of more than one character. There are many themes present here and it would be a good choice for a book club.
Joe Willie Wolfchild is about to become a World Champion rodeo cowboy when he is severely injured by a bull he is riding. As he comes to terms with the way his life has changed as a result of the injury, he is supported by his close family.
Claire Hartley and her son Aiden have lived a nomadic life as Claire has moved from one unsuitable man to another. After Aiden is arrested as a result of a botched robbery, an Edmonton policeman helps them find a new beginning, but they both must still face their past and choose their futures for themselves.
If you want literary exposure to Bull Riding, this is your book.
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