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Indian Horse

A Novel
Written by: Richard Wagamese
Narrated by: Jason Ryll
Length: 6 hrs and 51 mins
5 out of 5 stars (702 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

Saul Indian Horse is in critical condition. Sitting feeble in an alcoholism treatment facility, he is told that sharing his story will help relieve his agony. Though skeptical, he embarks on a heartbreaking journey from the present - and into the woods of Northern Ontario, where his life began in a snowy Ojibway camp. The tale that follows is one of great pain and great determination from Richard Wagamese, an author who "never seems to waste a shot" (New York Times).

After being taken forcibly from his family, Saul is placed in an abusive boarding school determined to expunge his Ojibway traditions and knowledge. But he finds salvation each morning at dawn, practicing hockey alone on the school's makeshift ice rink. Saul's gift is undeniable: He quickly rises from his school's all-Ojibway team to the white-dominated regional circuit. As his skills improve and he gains notoriety, however, each of his victories on the ice is met by racism and hate. As the years pass, Saul must reconcile his passion - the game he loves, that allowed him to escape poverty - with the harshness of a world that will never make him entirely welcome.

Unfolding against the bleak loveliness of Northern Ontario - all rock, marsh, bog, and cedar - this is a singular story of resilience from a beloved storyteller.

©2012 Richard Wagamese (P)2017 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Heart wrenching and Humbling

I love hockey. My family has been involved in hockey since I was born. Richard Wagamese highlights the horrendous acts committed at the residential schools, and the generational effect it still has while simultaneously making you long for the arena. You follow Saul through his journey with his birth family, to the school, and again with his adoptive family. Every step of the way giving you happiness, then a reminder that weighs at the back of his mind. I found myself pausing to cry about Saul’s experience, knowing that it was a fiction based on the true testimony of many; too many. A haunting reminder of our past, our traditions, and the culture we live and breathe.

The performance was remarkable, and easy to follow. A must read (or listen) for all.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Moving Story

This story pulled me in and felt as though I was inside the mind or personal journal of the character Saul. it reminded me that every person has a deep story and past that is worth recognizing. #Audible1

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Incredible story, so well narrated

It takes a true storyteller to weave so much underlying emotion with so few emotional words used. The quiet and empty spaces leave one holding one’s breath.

I can’t recommend this audiobook highly enough. Although there is quite a bit of hockey talk, it is essential to the story. It is told in such a way that it rekindles a passion that might have been forgotten or overlooked.

The narration was the frosting on this particular cake. It brought the whole thing to life, giving it soul. I was disappointed when the story ended and I knew that this was a tale that had not only enlightened me, but had touched my heart.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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If I Could Rate Higher Than Five - I Would.

Beautifully written, and moving account of a young native man's life. This should become required reading in every high school in Canada. Raw, emotional, and spiritual recounting of the trauma lived by indigenous children in one particular residential school in northern Ontario. This is not easy listening but must be heard or read. Narration was the best I have ever listened to on Audible. Once I started listening, I did not want to stop.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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The narrator sucked!!

The story was powerful, unfortunately it was severely diminished by the narrator. I don't know who decided the narrator should read the story in that stereotypical virtually comical, this is what I imagine what Indians should sound like, voice. it detracts from the seriousness of the subject and makes it difficult to listen to. I really wish I would have bought the book and read it instead.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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The beauty of the book is in the nuiance.

This book was a page turner, if you played hockey as a child you will almost certainly connect with this book. Wagamese captures both the essence and nuiance of hockey in a way I have seldom seen. The book comes to life and you feel like you are a part of it. That really is the beauty of the book. The book is hard hitting and emotionally engaging without being unnecessary graphic. We are made aware of the hardships Saul faces without the need to describe each and every detail and I certainly appreciated the writing skill it takes to do this. As an audio book this was well read, clear and with good voice and tone. Overall a wonderful experience to both read and listen.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Wonderful storytelling

I'm not a huge hockey fan so I wasn't sure if I'd be able to get into this book. Friends had recommended it so I gave it a try. I loved it! The way Wagamese describes the game, the character's experiences and feelings, takes you away and into the head of the character. 100% recommend

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Great story should be required reading on Canadian history

I often rate books high when I enjoy them. This is one that I wish I could rate even higher or a put in a special category.

The story absorbs you and makes you reflect on a tough topic and sad part of history that should not have happened. Growing up learning Canadian history the story of residential schools and the atrocities by the nuns and priests was never covered. This story of a boy that went through the system and the struggles to escape through the love of hockey. Trying to forget the place while dealing with the racism of the time.
I felt a lot of emotions listening to this. Richard Wagamese is a great writer and pulled you into Saul’s life.

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A book everyone should read.

Well told heartbreaking story of a sad time in our history. Should be mandatory school reading. It isn't about hockey, it's about abuse of power, racism, sexual assault, lack of compassion, lack of resources to help those abused to deal with their trauma. We need to understand the impact of residential schools and the 60's scoop on future generations and do something about it.

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Must read! But listen at 1.25x!

This book evokes great feeling. I enjoyed the descriptive world given to us by the author and felt deeply all the mixed emotions of the narrator. It gives incredible insight into the native experience of the residential school system. A must read for all Canadians in my mind.
The performance was well done but painfully slow for my liking. However once I increased to 1.25x listening rate, it was perfect!

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  • ruthemily
  • 2019-10-07

Important Read

One of the rare cases where I seen the movie before I read the book. Richard Wagamese weaves a remarkable story (based on a culmination of true accounts) of the Indian Boarding Schools that many Native American and First Nation children were sent to after being kidnapped from their families. What many people do not realize is that these schools did not close until 1990's and there are so many horrifying tales of what happened to the Native children who went there and who never left. Beautifully written, and achingly tragic, I highly recommend this story for every American and Canadian citizen so everyone can understand an important piece of what is not taught in history classes today.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • jacy davis
  • 2018-04-29

Read and share!

Read if you dare., A truth so many Native American nations endured. So many loss, so many in the struggle, so many generational heartaches. The ripple.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • jaynell
  • 2019-04-18

educational inside look

sad and interesting. educational and new understanding. amazing stories and never had me uninterested. watched the movie also.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2018-12-06

A Gem.

This book was not my first choice, it was a selection from my book club. I was very pleasantly surprised. It was beautifully written the language creating vivid imagery and very evocative. The subject was painful at times but was not graphic, and was dealt with honestly. I would recommend this.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2018-11-08

Amazing

I loved this book the storyline was so good I was forced into reading this book my my English teacher thanks for pushing me to read what an amazing book

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  • Chris Stephens
  • 2018-10-11

Everything and More!

A book all indigenous people and indigenous allies should read / listen too. It goes beyond the pain of residential schools into the healing that survivors go into. I loved the story - I was drawn to the characters and to the light behind the pain. Such a fantastic book!

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  • Hard Stop Publishing @hardstoppublish
  • 2018-10-05

Amazing journey

This book and performance was incredible. I have not been moved by a book in a very long time and this had me vacillating between sadness and joy throughout. I highly recommend this to everyone.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2018-05-29

good storyline

powerful and sad, although the ending was encouraging. This would be a good story for anyone unfamiliar with the Indian schools.