Sunday, July 28

Book Review: Wild Geese

Title: Wild Geese

Author: Martha Ostenso

Pages: EBook 255

Summary: Wild Geese caused a sensation when it was first published in 1925. To a generation bred on sentimental escapist literature, the idea of a heroine as wild as a bronco and as fiery as a tigress was nothing short of revolutionary. In the character of Judith Gare, Martha Ostenso had painted so naked and uncompromising a portrait of human passion and need that it crossed all bounds of propriety and convention.

Today, Wild Geese is widely recognized as a milestone in the development of modern realist fiction. Set on the windswept prairies, it is a story of love and tyranny, of destruction and survival, told with vigour and lyric beauty. It is also a poignant evocation of loneliness, which, like the call of the wild geese, is beyond human warmth, beyond tragedy, “an endless quest.”

My Rating: 9.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: A combination of a beautiful narrative and a strong-character driven novel, this book was a wonderful read.

There were times I was completely engrossed by the book, the narrative was lovely and there were a few passages that were absolutely stunning and profound. Some of the descriptive passages the author used and how they tied in with the emotions of the book and its characters created such a spectacular reading experience. Even if the book was a bit of a downer at times, the author managed to write such a wonderful and dark atmosphere for the setting, that it created very realistic characters that came alive off of the pages. I was anxiously awaiting the ending hoping that the characters get what they deserved -- both a happy and bad endings, depending on who the character was. I had a very passionate hate for some of the characters, others I wanted them to break free, which shows just how well written the characters were.

It was a slow moving, character driven book - but I loved how the author took her time to examine the characters personalities, their struggles and their fight for freedom. I did feel that some of these themes became repetitive and there was a time I was worried the story wouldn't carry forward, but it worked out in the end. Although there was a bit of repetition, I also think it was needed to help create the bond I had with the book. I also enjoyed how it highlighted life in the prairies during the time period and some of the hardships and sacrifices that it took to make a living. It wasn't the central theme of the book, but the author did touch on it and managed to tie it into the book nicely.

A stunning, engrossing read which will likely be one of my favourite reads of the year.

Would I recommend it to read: I would highly recommend this book. It was a very engrossing read, it's an excellent choice for Canlit fans, and a good choice if you want to try a new author. I do have to say, I read the afterword in my edition, and I did question, whether or not I read the same book as the afterword author. Some of the "themes" they touched on just didn't exist for me. Anyone ever have that problem before?

What to read next: I'd look at books by Margaret Laurence or David Adams Richards

Challenges: 100 Books Challenge, 2013 Category Challenge, 7th Annual Canadian Book Challenge, Alphabet Challenge, EBook Challenge, New Author Challenge


  1. I read this book a thousand years ago for a CanLit course. And i think you're right - it is a must for fans of CanLit. But that being said, I distinctly remember not liking it. But maybe now, twenty years later, I would like it more. Ah, so many books ...

    1. I think I know where you're getting at, years later with age wisdom and all that, you do have a different outlook on books you read in the past. It is a book I think you either enjoy or don't enjoy. I don't think there is much of a grey area, because of the characters, the heaviness of the storyline. etc.

  2. I read this a couple of years ago, for Pickle Me This' Canada Reads Indie event, and I just loved it. Since then, I've picked up a couple of her other novels, but just haven't gotten to them yet. So many contemporary novels begging to be read...hard to make time for the classics, as good as they are!

    1. Pickle Me This? Now that sounds like an interesting title for an event! I would like to read more by the author, but I need time. Like you I have to many classics, contemporary an everything in between for the type of books I want/need to read.