The Englishman's Boy

Guy Vanderhaeghe

The Englishman's Boy

In this compelling story within a story, Guy Vanderhaeghe brings us back to Hollywood filmmaking in the 1920s. A wealthy studio head wants to make an epic film about the American West and believes the key lies in getting the story of legendary cowboy Shorty McAdoo. But McAdoo is haunted by the real-life massacre of First Nations people in Montana in the 1870s. What results is a novel that confronts the mythology and idealism of the Old West.

In 1996, The Englishman's Boy won the Governor General's Award for fiction and was nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize.


"The Englishman's boy turned his eyes over his shoulder and to the river bluffs across the Missouri. There the strong glow of the rising sun lit a mass of shelving cloud so that it appeared a bank of molten lava squeezed from the guts of the earth, each striation distinct and gleaming with a different fire. The topmost layer the rich ruddy purple of cooling slag; then the dim cherry of a horseshoe heated for shaping; then layers of orange and yellow which smelted down to where swollen, bulging hills met the sky in pure white fire. He faced west again where the sun over his shoulder was painting the valley hills with a tenderer light. On the crest of these hills the Englishman's boy could make out three tiny black dots, moving."

From The Englishman's Boy by Guy Vanderhaeghe ©1996. Published by Emblem Editions.