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Two Novellas
Adult Fiction
Pages: 224
Themes: Indigenous, coming of age, own voice, carving, horse racing
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: 16/Mar/2021
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The volume brings together two previously published novellas by Richard Wagamese, Him Standing and The Next Sure Thing, with a foreword from author Waubgeshig Rice. Both stories follow the lives of young men who have dreams for a better future. In their search for fame and fortune, Cree Thunderboy and Lucas Smoke end up on paths where their biggest challenge is staying true to themselves.

In Him Standing, Lucas Smoke learns the art of carving from his grandfather. He discovers that he is a natural; he can literally make people come to life in wood. But when Lucas is asked to carve a spirit mask by a mysterious stranger, he quickly learns that his skill with a knife could cost him his dreams.

In The Next Sure Thing, Cree Thunderboy has two things he does well: playing blues guitar and picking winning horses at the track. Picking winners is just meant to be a means to an end—Cree's goal is to make his living playing the blues. He meets a powerful man at the racetrack who convinces him he can parlay his special skill with the horses into a shot at the fame and fortune he seeks.

Celebrated author Richard Wagamese artfully crafts these thrilling yet vulnerable stories of two young men trying to find their place in the world.

Library Journal review for The Next Sure Thing
"A clever puzzle that features a young man seeking to make his way."
Crowding the Book Truck blog review for The Next Sure Thing
“Wagamese, an Ojibway author and storyteller, has crafted a very strong story.”
CM: Canadian Review of Materials review for Him Standing
“In an efficient yet engaging writing style, Wagamese portrays Lucas as a likeable hero with a distinct voice and perspective. Amy acts as a solid foil to Lucas, and the two develop each other in showing their vulnerable sides...The pace is snappy; events follow on each other's heels like dominoes at a rate sure to keep the reader hooked on the storyline. Recommended.”
CM: Canadian Review of Materials review for The Next Sure Thing
“[An] interesting and fast-paced read. One of the biggest strengths of the novel is Cree and his best friend, Ashton. Cree is honest and well developed.”
The Coastal Spectator review for Him Standing
“Wagamese dips into deep issues such as balance in the universe and the power of fear, and wraps them up into a mystical story. An impressive feat. Also impressive is the voice he creates for Lucas; the young man’s internal dialogue feels genuine throughout.”

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