Friday, 5 April 2013

First Nations Friday - Him Standing by Richard Wagamese

 First Nations Friday is an occasional Friday post where I review books written by First Nations/Aboriginal authors.

I recently learned that Orca Book Publishers has a line of books that they call 'Rapid Reads'.  These are shorter stories, both fiction and non-fiction, that are both shorter in length and easier to read.  The target readers are ESL students, people with lower level reading skills, those who want a one night read.  I feel they would also be a great choice for people who are having trouble focusing, perhaps due to an extended illness. At  present there are 29 adults titles available.   Him Standing by Richard Wagamese is the first I have read.
Lucas Smoke is just 20 years old, yet he has the carving skills of much more experienced artist.  When he holds a piece of wood in his hand, he can see his subject within it.  He feels that he is making a good living by carving the images of people along the boardwalk.  He learned much of his art by watching his grandfather carve spirit masks, which were highly sought by collectors.
Undoubtedly he would have continued carving people, except that fateful day when Gareth Knight stopped on the boardwalk to challenge Lucas to a particularly difficult commission.
This story was non-stop action right from the first page where we learn that Lucas is a nature, perhaps even a savant at his craft.  It continues a a brisk pace and kept my attention for every minute.  And yes, I did read it through in one evening. Even though this book is rated at a grade 2.8 level, it still have sufficient detail and was a complex enough story to keep me interested. 
Thanks to Orca Book Publishing for use of the cover image and for my review copy.
Also by Richard Wagamese:
The 6th Canadian Book Challenge is hosted by John at The Book Mine Set.

1 comment:

Paulina said...

I loved both of Wagamese's books that I'd read: Ragged Company and Indian Horse. He's a very gifted writer and I'm glad he's done a volume for Rapid Reads. This seems to be a great series for adult learners.