Wacousta, or, The Prophecy: A Tale of the Canadas (New Canadian Library)

by John Richardson | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0771098774 Global Overview for this book
Registered by Ibis3 of Newcastle, Ontario Canada on 2/3/2007
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6 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by Ibis3 from Newcastle, Ontario Canada on Saturday, February 03, 2007
From the back cover:
"Set in the 1760s at the time of Pontiac’s Indian alliance against the British, Wacousta combines elements of revenge tragedy and gothic romance in reconstructing a violent episode in Canadian frontier history. In Major John Richardson’s vivid depiction, Pontiac’s campaign against Fort Detroit is masterminded by the mysterious Wacousta, a Byronic anti-hero whose thirst for vengeance against the fortress commander borders on madness. Turning upon binary oppositions – garrison against wilderness, restraint against passion, mercy against justice – this suspenseful novel creates a world of deception and terror in which motive is ambiguous and the boundary between order and anarchy unclear.

First published in 1832, Wacousta anticipated many of the themes that would assume central importance in the Canadian narrative imagination."

Journal Entry 2 by Ibis3 from Newcastle, Ontario Canada on Saturday, June 23, 2007
This was a really great Gothic adventure story. There was plenty of graphic violence, melodramatic romanticism, and quite a bit of sadomasochism just under the surface. On top of that it was a fun adventure story set in a time when Detroit and Michillimackinac were the far outposts in a string of French turned British fortifications along what later became the border between the U.S. and Canada of which Quebec City was the most established and powerful. Neither the Europeans or the Odawa come off as being either wholly good & civilised or wholly evil & savage. Both groups contain elements of moral duality and so John Richardson, writing even at this very early time in our history, provides us modern readers with a very sophisticated story (but one has to look for it beneath all the 'reeking scalps' and swooning women). There were times when I had to laugh because the writing was so melodramatic, and I felt a kind of glee when reading the almost homo-erotic description of Charles & his relationship with Valletort. Richardson is also a master at suspense. Once you get past the interesting introduction to the geography and history of the setting he draws you in and as soon as your suspense is turned up he changes gears and starts off on a digression or switches to another plotline in almost comic book fashion.

mrsgaskell and I had a great discussion about the book over on Book Talk: http://www.bookcrossing.com/forum/6/4208468/ Please revive the thread & join in if you like once you've read it.

Journal Entry 3 by Ibis3 from Newcastle, Ontario Canada on Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Sent to molekilby today as a CanLit Challenge Bookring.

Journal Entry 4 by molekilby from Brithdir, Wales United Kingdom on Monday, August 13, 2007
Received today, thanks Ibis. Nice bit of envelope recycling ;-) This is likely to be read at the extreme of the month allowed, but it should be on its way soon after that. Thanks.

Journal Entry 5 by molekilby from Brithdir, Wales United Kingdom on Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Finished this book yesterday. It was like reading a Tarantino movie. A storyline is there, but the plot comes together at the end. Very melodramtic with plenty of skirmishes, it does a paint a detailed picture of life in an English fort. Particularly enjoyed reading the speech towards the end of Wacousta.


It does make me wonder how many of the battles and decisions within this or other conflicts were driven by personal reasons. Or is that just Richardsons' narrative.

Will pass on at the end of the week. Thanks for sharing.

ETA: Posted 14th September

Journal Entry 6 by wingNu-Kneeswing from Knaresborough, North Yorkshire United Kingdom on Monday, September 17, 2007
Wacousta has arrived safely in North Yorkshire, thank you very much - a lovely surprise for 8.30 am on a Monday morning! It's going to the top of TBR so I should start it this week, as soon as I've finished my current book.

Journal Entry 7 by wingNu-Kneeswing from Knaresborough, North Yorkshire United Kingdom on Tuesday, October 02, 2007
I've just read the last hundred pages or so in one sitting and still feel rather shell-shocked! What an emotional rollercoaster! What drama! What melodrama! What savage savages! What swooning women! What love! What hatred! What ....! Oh, they don't write 'em like that any more!
Thank you, Ibis3, for sending this out on its journey. I hope to get it packed up and on its way later today.
Update: 2.10.07 pm - Wacousta has started paddling his canoe across the Big Pond!
Further update: 4.10.07 - The UK postal service is now on strike. If Wacousta hasn't already left the country, then he may be delayed somewhere in a warehouse for quite some time. Sorry!

Journal Entry 8 by bibliotreker from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA on Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Wacousta apparently escaped the British Isles mail strike and and has arrived safely back in North America. Must of taken a speed boat; he arrived in just one week. When I've sent books to the U.K. it sometimes took up to six weeks to arrive by surface mail. I'll start on this as soon as I finish my current read. Thanks Nu-knees for the lovely postcard and note.

Journal Entry 9 by bibliotreker from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA on Saturday, November 17, 2007
Finally, I finished this interesting historical novel. It is not a fast or easy read, but a worthwhile one. Originally published in 1832 the writing style was a bit different than that of today. But all in all, for me it was a fascinating read with it's historical events. What I like about good historical fiction is that it takes me back in time. Wacousta took me took me back to the mid 1700's, and all of North America was under British dominance. The Canadas (Quebec) was ceded to England and the U.S. Colonies to the south all under British rule. It was a time when the Native American Indians were threatened by the European and colonial presence and of the conflicts that arose. I learned of the British frontier Ft. Detroit, now the location of Detroit Michigan, and other forts along the Great Lakes in the middle of the continent. It was a time when we were all one, despite our conflicts. Thanks to Ibis3 and other previous readers for encouraging me to continue with this enlightening book.

Bug2004 asked to be skipped so I PMed ldpaulson the next in line. Will send it out as soon as I get a response.

No response from ldpaulson after I've made several attempts to contact her, so I've PMed the next person eicuthbertson.

Mailed to Eicuthbertson in B.C.

Journal Entry 10 by eicuthbertson from Burnaby, British Columbia Canada on Tuesday, January 01, 2008
Just received in the mail today -thanks!

Journal Entry 11 by eicuthbertson from Burnaby, British Columbia Canada on Friday, February 29, 2008
What a great adventure story and now that I've read a bit about the author, John Richardson, I see that his life was really something too.
From the Dictionary of Canadian Biography:
" He showed no patience for Canadians who, by neglecting their writers, demeaned themselves in the eyes of the civilized world. “True, I have elsewhere remarked that the Canadians are not a reading people. Neither are they: but yet there are many hundreds of educated men in the country, who ought to know better, . . . who possess a certain degree of public influence, and who should have been sensible that, in doing honor to those whom the polished circles of society, and even those of a more humble kind, have placed high in the conventional scale, they were adopting the best means of elevating themselves.”


This book is now on its way to tantan in Australia. Enjoy!

Journal Entry 12 by tantan from Montréal, Québec Canada on Sunday, March 16, 2008
Received - many thanks eicuthbertson! Thanks also for the bookmarks and card. The Vancouver library looks truly awesome.

The book is going on the TBR pile. I should be able to read it next.

Journal Entry 13 by tantan from Montréal, Québec Canada on Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Sorry for the delay in getting to this - I had a house move just after receiving it. I've now started the book, and hopefully it won't take too long to get through.

Journal Entry 14 by tantan at Gympie, Queensland Australia on Saturday, February 19, 2011

Released 8 yrs ago (2/19/2011 UTC) at Gympie, Queensland Australia


Finally heading home to Canada. I've sent it by Sea Mail, but hopefully it won't take too long.

Journal Entry 15 by Ibis3 at Newcastle, Ontario Canada on Saturday, June 11, 2011
Book is back home. Thanks everyone.

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