The Englishman's Boy

The Englishman's Boy

Book - 1996
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Tells two stories in alternate chapters set in the Canadian Wild West of the 1870s and in Hollywood in the 1920s.
"Counterpointing the stories of the legendary Western cowboy Shorty McAdoo and Harry Vincent, the ambitious young screenwriter commissioned to retell his story in 1920s Hollywood, this novel reconstructs an epic journey through Montana into the Canadian plains, by a group of men pursuing their stolen horses. The Englishman's Boy intelligently and creatively depicts an American West where greed and deception are tempered by honor and strength. As Richard Ford has noted, "Vanderhaeghe is simply a wonderful writer. The Englishman's Boy, spanning as it does two countries, two centuries, two views of history--the Canadian Wild West as 'imagined' by Hollywood--is a great accomplishment."--Publisher description
Publisher: Toronto, Ont. : McClelland & Stewart, 1996
Branch Call Number: FICTION VAN
Characteristics: 333 p. : map


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May 01, 2019

Two intertwined stories: one, about the Englishman's Boy, is original, vital and exciting. the second, about Hollywood is derivative, dull, and enervating. Read the first, skip the second.

For some reason, the author chooses to downplay the gay angle, but read between the lines. . . .

timbert Mar 29, 2015

Full of violence, lusts for vengeance & personal gain with very few glimpses of better side of human nature.
Couldn't finish, depressing

WVMLStaffPicks Dec 07, 2014

This novel is two beautifully intertwined stories of the old West: the brutal era of the Cypress Hills Indian massacre, and the early days of Hollywood with its megalomaniac directors and visions of the great American film. So full of history and full-blooded characters, it haunts your memories long after you've turned the last page.

brianreynolds Sep 12, 2014

With no pride at all, I’ll confess that year after year I failed to instil in my patient grade eights some appreciation that the Northwest Mounted Police came into being largely as a result of a massacre in the Cypress Hills region of what was to become Saskatchewan. It should have been interesting, I thought—well, more interesting than the Father’s of Confederation or the importance of red fife wheat to prairie farmers. Well, no wonder. I knew nothing of Shorty McAdoo or Fine Man or Rachel Gold. I hadn’t heard of Guy Vanderhaegue, didn’t know how he could serenade a reader as sweetly as Gene Autry could sing a ballad, could rivet one’s attention and wrench one’s gut in the same paragraph. Had no idea the Mounties had nearly nothing to do with it. The Englishman’s Boy is not the stuff of Hollywood, but the stuff of a Pete Seeger. I had no idea this story was so real that only fiction could capture its truth.

Oct 26, 2011

wonderful book, great writing, horses and cowboys,
Shorty McAdoo, an uncompromising old guy from the Old Canadian West, who has twice been used by those in power, is lured to Hollywood by the promise of easy money, but is tragically betrayed.

Mar 13, 2011

Winner of the Governor General’s Award in Canada. Absolutely brilliant! Based on historical fact, this quietly compelling story of the Englishman’s Boy meanders between the Wild West of the 1870’s and 1920s Hollywood. A luminous novel, deftly crafted. Highly recommended!

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