A Swallow Press Book
By Rudy Wiebe
“The Temptations of Big Bear is one of the best novels, perhaps, ever written in Canada.”
“Wiebe tackles history and succeeds in making it dramatic, intriguing, romantic and tragic…. An astounding and deep portrayal of human emotion.”
Calgary Herald Magazine
“A very rare, complexly emotional and profoundly philosophical experience…. A fictional meditation, in which [Wiebe] enters the very texture of the lives of his characters, Indian and white…. He has created a style for [Big Bear's] incredible voice that fully wins our belief in its greatness and power…. A masterpiece.”
Rudy Wiebe's The Temptations of Big Bear is an epic of the Canadian West. As the buffalo-based food supply vanishes, Big Bear leads his Plains Cree nation across the prairie in search of a means of retaining the way of life quickly being lost—a life his people have lived for thousands of years. Against the onslaught of the White Queen's representatives, Big Bear resists pressure to cede the ancestral right to the land of his hungry but free people in exchange for temporary nourishment and a reserve.
In this award-winning novel, Rudy Wiebe brings alive the heroism and dignity of Big Bear's fierce struggle for justice that tore apart the Cree community and his own family. The Temptations of Big Bear is a beautifully written and moving novel about a tumultuous period in the history of the West.
Rudy Wiebe is the author of several short story collections and essays. He also is the author of eight novels, including A Discovery of Strangers and The Temptations of Big Bear, both winners of the Governor General's Award for Fiction. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta.
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The American public has long been fascinated by the Old West and the so–called heroes that it produced. Even before the days of Jesse James, Billy the Kid, and the dime novel, the public’s heroes have always been somewhat tainted. Numerous stories of chivalry and gallantry have been accredited to outlaws, but all tales have been based upon folklore and legends. Mark Dugan, however, gives us a bona fide American Robin Hood with Ham White.
For Cricket Sings, Cahokia medicine woman, the omens have been bad. She is old, and so at this year’s Sun Ceremony she will tell her stories, the tales handed down from grandparents to grandchildren since the memory of the People began. The Sun King is dying, unable to perfom the Ceremony which will bring good crops to the fields.
The Wife of Martin Guerre—based on a notorious trial in sixteenth-century France—is “one of the most significant short novels in English” (Atlantic Monthly). Originally published in 1941, it still raises questions about identity, belonging, and about an individual’s capacity to act within an inflexible system.