Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Reader's Diary #935- Richard Wagamese: Indian Horse
In my defense, I still think for the bulk of the book Saul is a little too squeaky clean, not to mention a little too unbelievably good at hockey. I'm reminded somewhat of all the promos for the next Superman movie. Superman's going through a bit of an identity crisis. It seems modern audiences want their superheroes with a bit more grit. Fundamentally good, yes, but with a bit more edge. Someone who makes mistakes from time to time. Someone not so black and white. But Superman's always been a bit of a goody goody and those occasional falls from grace are good for quick entertainment. Remember when Christopher Reeve's Superman went on a depressed drinking binge in Superman III? Probably, since I just reminded you of it, but it certainly didn't change our overall image. Batman's the dark knight. With all of that boy-scoutian history, Superman's still seen as the good ol saviour of the universe— yawn. With Saul Indian Horse, I think there was too much build up. As if this would make his fall from grace more tragic. Instead, I think it just made Saul more unbelievable. Just once, in his earlier years, couldn't he have at least a thought of stabbing one of his tormentors in the eye with a fork?
I also found the book tried too hard to be important. If this were a movie, we'd laugh at the all-telling Oscar moments. In other words, no one could accuse Wagamese of being too subtle. Whenever the story veered into self-help or a history lesson, I found myself removed from the plot and it slowed down my pace. Not that his messages weren't important, I just think they would have been more effective if they weren't so forced. Without those direct teaching moments, I was rather enjoying the story.
I also enjoyed the style of Wagamese's writing. His sentences were succinct but the descriptions were rich in imagery. It's a quick read, but depending on your sensitivities to serious topics (racism and abuse are two major themes), not an easy read from an emotional standpoint.
Without having finished the other contenders yet, I can't predict how it will fare in next month's debates.