Books·Canadian

The Englishman's Boy

Guy Vanderhaeghe's novel won the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction in 1996.

Guy Vanderhaeghe

The Englishman's Boy brilliantly connects Hollywood in the 1920s with one of the bloodiest, most brutal events of the 19th-century Canadian West: the Cypress Hills Massacre. Vanderhaeghe's rendering of the stark, dramatic beauty of the western landscape and of Hollywood in its most extravagant era — with its visionaries, celebrities and dreamers — provides a vivid background for scenes of action, adventure and intrigue. Richly textured, evocative of time and place, this is an unforgettable novel about power, greed and the pull of dreams that has at its centre the haunting story of a young drifter — "the Englishman's boy." (From Emblem Editions)

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

Read an excerpt | Author interviews | More about this book

From the book

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.

Author interviews

Author Guy Vanderhaeghe talks with Saskatoon Morning host Leisha Grebinski about the importance of fiction writers being people watchers. 0:51
Tonight in Calgary the Walrus Talks tackle the questions "What is art anyway?" Eight artists, from various disciplines and backgrounds, are exploring the subject. Guy Vanderhaeghe is among them. He's a three-time Governor General's Award-winning author. 6:41

More about this book