Book Reviews · Uncategorized

BOOK REVIEW – “Wild Geese” by Martha Ostenso

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Original Publication Date: 1925

Summary from the back cover:
In a farming community on the windswept plains of northern Manitoba, the fiery Judith Gare struggles for freedom from her father’s brutal, controlling rule. Told with vigour and lyric beauty, Wild Geese is a powerful and erotic evocation of life stripped to its fundamentals, and a poignant exploration of passion, need, and isolation. A sensation when it was first published, the novel is recognized today as one of the forerunners in a new realistic movement in Canadian writing.

I read this book for my Introduction to Canadian Studies class. Although the professor isn’t the most exciting one, I’m really glad and thankful that I got the chance to read this book. It really is a great read, and I don’t think it matters whether you’re from the city OR anywhere else in the world. I think the characters alone and the general story is enough to keep you reading on.

What I love most about this book is the story behind it in general. In the afterword of this version of the book, David Arnason writes:

The truth of Ostenso’s story is less heart-wrenching, though equally erotic. She did teach in a farm community near the narrows on Lake Winnipeg … Residents can still identify the farm and can name the characters on whom the novel is supposedly based (pg. 317)

I find the fact that this being a relatively true story very interesting because it does give us an inside on how people lived in the early 1900s, and what they were like.

The Gare children are all governed under the rule of Caleb, who is probably the most cunning and paranoid person I’ve ever read. I’m most interested in Amelia though, because some of my acquaintances in my class had some strong opinions of how much they dislike her. I do get the fact that she hated her children (often referred to as “Caleb’s kids” by Amelia herself). But we have to remind ourselves that although she isn’t a great mom, she is a strong woman despite of the fact that she is frightened by Caleb throughout most of the book. She does everything for Mark-Jordan, her illegitimate son, and she rolls with all the verbal and emotional abuse just for this one man she barely knows. In my opinion, even though she isn’t exactly the most beloved character, I do think that she shouldn’t be viewed as a bad character.

I really think that a lot of people would enjoy this book, and you should read it in case you haven’t already. It really is a great book, and very enjoyable. Even though it’s a book written in 1925, it still has the ability to charm its reader and engage them.

Has anyone else read this? How did you like the book?

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