Customer Reviews


32 Reviews
5 star:
 (20)
4 star:
 (8)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Duty, honor, and love, sublimely rendered
Once in awhile, a book comes along that haunts its readers' thoughts for years. The Last Crossing is such a book.
Set in the latter part of the 1800s, in the western U.S. and Canada, and in Victorian England, this is a tale of a a man lost in the wilderness, and those who seek to find him, including his very stiff British father, two very different brothers, a pair...
Published on March 5 2003 by Milko McGillicuddy

versus
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ... following Sergio Leone
This is an excellent depiction of what we imagine life to be in the North American wilderness in the last part of the XIXth century, without the airbrush effects that plagues this sort of epic.
The author, building on previous successes (notably The Englishman's boy), wants us to stay with his book far too long. Some of the "stories within the story" may be...
Published on Nov. 10 2002 by Montcler


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Duty, honor, and love, sublimely rendered, March 5 2003
This review is from: The Last Crossing (Hardcover)
Once in awhile, a book comes along that haunts its readers' thoughts for years. The Last Crossing is such a book.
Set in the latter part of the 1800s, in the western U.S. and Canada, and in Victorian England, this is a tale of a a man lost in the wilderness, and those who seek to find him, including his very stiff British father, two very different brothers, a pair of star-crossed lovers, a quirky journalist, a saloon-keeper, and an Indian guide. They all suffer from painful pasts that taunt them into life-changing courses of action.
Telling the story from their own points of view, the characters look back at their own lives. This drives each of them to live up to their sense of duty, to defend their own honor, and ultimately to act in one way or another because they either love, or can't love.
Scenes of the early west tear at the heart--caravans, Indian villages, conflicts, battles, disease, death, tragedy, comic relief. And love, sometimes unrequited, and at a distance. There is one scene that will stay with me for years. In it, two lovers find each other, their desperate searches ending and beginning in an instant. The night air, the stars, the prairie wind and their hearts carry them to where they couldn't dream of going.
The characters speak with undeniable truth to and about themselves. They narrate, but also wonder about their own personal honor and how they can love despite their pasts and the hard lessons that duty and love teach them.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Two Wests, one good story, Feb. 16 2004
This review is from: The Last Crossing (Hardcover)
For more than 100 years, authors have sent their heroes into the twin uncharted territories of the wild West and the untamed heart, but few have risen above horse opera or dime novel. Owen Wister's "The Virginian" and Larry McMurtry's "Lonesome Dove" remain the gold standard for literature of the frontier West.
Uh, make that the American West. It's good to be reminded, as Guy Vanderhaeghe's "The Last Crossing" does, that Canada also had a vast, unexplored western territory. And while rails were rapidly being laid across virgin earth and Custer was hurtling toward his last stand, no territorial border truly divided the American and Canadian wildernesses. Marauding Indians, greedy whites, hungry animals and a budding mythology simply didn't appreciate international boundaries.
Blending intense action with masterly characterization, Vanderhaeghe appeals on various levels. Whether his huge popularity in Canada will trickle south of the border remains to be seen, but this new novel is a sharp and eloquent import. The big question is: Can American readers embrace a sprawling adventure of higher literary value?
He has sometimes been dunned by critics for excruciatingly detailed prose, but such criticism is neither warranted in this case nor unexpected in modern commercial publishing, where action is more highly valued than character.
Vanderhaeghe disregards those boundaries. "The Last Crossing" is a far more satisfying story of a small band's westward journey than McMurtry's rambling, four-part Berrybender Narratives, which began in 2002 with "The Sin Killer" and will end later this year with "Folly and Glory."
While Vanderhaeghe doesn't rival McMurtry in his prime, - these characters are not nearly as engaging as "Lonesome Dove's" Gus McCrae and Woodrow Call, nor are their travails as gripping - he has contributed a new frontier novel that is braver and more eloquent than all but a handful in the Western oeuvre, Canadian or American.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars An exciting, finely crafted tale, Jan. 20 2014
By 
Len (Slave Lake, Alberta, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Last Crossing (Kindle Edition)
A father blessed with three sons loses his wife with the birth of the twins. Without the tender caring of a mother, the Gaunt twins, Simon and Charles learn to depend on each other while Addington, the eldest turns to a gardener, who provides him with the affection and guidance his father does not. Unable to find a meaningful existence in London, Simon, the more sensitive of the two disappears to become a missionary among the Aboriginals in North America. Anxious about losing his favourites son, their father send Charles and Addington to find him. In Fort Benton, Montana, they hire a metis by the name of Jerry Potts to help find their brother. Mr. Potts, of Scottish and Blackfoot decent, has lost the acceptance of his wife and thereby his sone, straddles the world of the Aboriginal man and the European. Lucy Stoveall, another Fort Benton seeks revenge against the Kelso brothers who have run off after the murder of her sister. Estranged from her husband, she manages to join the Gaunt brother entourage as a cook in hopes of running across the Kelso. Lovesick Custis Straw chases after Mrs. Stoveall with the intent of returning her to the safety of Fort Benton and his loving care. Mr. Vanderhaeghe weaves a terrific tale about the settlers, the metis, whiskey traders and aboriginal life. “The Final Crossing” is an exciting, finely crafted tale.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Thanks Mr. Vanderhaeghe, Sept. 3 2013
By 
Stan Howard Gray (Hamilton, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Last Crossing (Kindle Edition)
The detail in the book was convincing. I especially enjoyed the exploration of the lives of people who belonged to two cultures, First Nations and White. I would have enjoyed a woman character in this situation. A very good book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars My, My, My, Aug. 16 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Last Crossing (Paperback)
What a delightful surprise to find yet another top notch Canadian Writer. Saskatchewan should be proud. If you are looking for a delightful, challenging, historical account of fictitious Canadians, look no further than "The Last Crossing"
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars The writing alone rates, March 8 2004
By 
Michael Moore (Statesboro,, Georgia USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Last Crossing (Hardcover)
a top score. The author writes a 19th century novel the way it might have been written 150 years ago. In terms of scope, I think this novel closely resembles A.B. Guthrie's, The Big Sky, more than anything else. It takes time to tackle these Post Modern pieces and it takes a while to care about anyone in here but gradually the reader begins to understand the relationships. A lot of stuff goes unsaid which I think speaks well for any writer. We know that Aloysius is a devoted friend to Custis and we figure it out without being clubbed with it. The relationship between Jerry Potts and Custis also figures in this vein. I would like to have read more of Potts' story. My only criticism and it is mild is that Charles narrates a bit too long.
If you want to read something ultimately satisfying in non traditional ways, this might be your ticket.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling read, Nov. 19 2002
This review is from: The Last Crossing (Hardcover)
Some books one devours, some one lingers over. I just wolfed down The Last Crossing; now I'm slowly enjoying a second read. Such a wealth of characters, such fine historical detail, wonderfully researched and poetically rendered. It takes time to grow accustomed to the book's language, which is period-authentic - "pettifogging," "purloined" ... "Ellie Venables had fairly sickened with indignation at their pussillanimity." Such is the discourse of Oxford-educated Victorians. The words grow lean and dusty as the brothers Gaunt travel west and land in the fly-blown midwest, a landscape filled with whiskey-slugging Civil War veterans, barroom philosophes and thuggish hired hands. The major set pieces are vivid and violent, Addington Gaunt is a genuinely evil piece of work, the battle recreations are staggering...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ... following Sergio Leone, Nov. 10 2002
This review is from: The Last Crossing (Hardcover)
This is an excellent depiction of what we imagine life to be in the North American wilderness in the last part of the XIXth century, without the airbrush effects that plagues this sort of epic.
The author, building on previous successes (notably The Englishman's boy), wants us to stay with his book far too long. Some of the "stories within the story" may be interesting but add nothing to the action nor to the understanding of the characters.
Some of the characters are not sufficiently developed for the reader to know them well: perhaps it would have been better to not try to insert them in the story.
But all in all it is a very good and fascinating book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the Last Crossing, Jan. 17 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: The Last Crossing (Paperback)
The book was chosen by CBC Radio's Canada Reads programme as THE book Canadians should read (2003). Hmm. I was impressed by Vanderhaege's previous novel, the Englishman's Boy, so I decided to see for myself.
The book takes place mainly in Canada's North West territory, circa 1880. It is the story of a diverse group of individuals: British, American, Metis, Cree and Blackfoot, whose lives briefly intersect. Simon Gaunt is lost in the wilderness and his twin brother Charles and elder brother Addington set off to try to find him. They provision their expedition in Fort Benton, Montana. Jerry Potts, a Scot/Blackfoot frontiersman, Mrs. Stovall, and Curtis Straw, a horse trader, are the other main characters. The story follows the motley band as it treks through the prairie from Fort Benton to Fort Edmonton.
The main characters alternate as narrators. As a result we understand the true inner motivations of, and the misinterpretations of events by, the characters. We understand the deceptions between the characters. What is not said is often as important as what is said. In my view this is a very good technique. These characters are very well developed.
I particularly like the portrait of Potts, the frontiersman, who is caught between two cultures. His character is based on a real person. To the Europeans he is a near savage. In fact he is a hero who knows what needs to be done and does it. He is a man of integrity who does things not because of a reward but because that is what must be done. These unsung heroes slip into our past unnoticed but are in fact the real heroes. It is only through works of "fiction" that we can see their importance.
Not that this is a story without action! There is a murder, which remains a mystery throughout the novel. There are several violent confrontations which are part of the infamous whisky trade of Fort Whoop-Up. One comes across a ghost camp where an Indian band has been wiped out by small pox. There is a dramatic battle between two Indian tribes. There is also an excellent account of the civil war battle in the Wideness. I thought these actions sequences were particularly well written.
This novel is an excellent portrayal of human beings from whatever age who must confront the uncertainty and ambiguity of existence. I would highly recommend it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lively melodrama of the Northwest frontier in the 1870s., Feb. 29 2004
By 
This review is from: The Last Crossing (Hardcover)
In this broad saga of the New Territories, from Montana into Canada, Guy Vanderhaeghe brings to life the search of two Englishmen for their lost brother, Simon Gaunt, who has pursued a charismatic preacher in the hopes of converting the Indians to Christianity. No word has been heard from him in over a year. While twin brother Charles genuinely misses Simon, older brother Addington sees the search as a grand, selfish adventure-an excuse to hunt at his father's expense. The three brothers share the same blood and have had the same upbringing, but they have taken very different paths in life, and the sojourn in North America provides the stimulus which allows each one to discover his own inner nature. As Addington becomes more brutal and selfish, Charles becomes more sensitive and realistic. Gradually, an image of Simon emerges, through Charles's descriptions, as a "man dreaming so deeply as to be incapable of wakening to reality."
As the search party departs, every member is seeking some kind of love, acceptance, and a sense of connection to the wider world. Jerry Potts, the scout, is half Scots and half Blackfoot Indian and yearns for his small son from whom he is estranged. Lucy Stoveall is searching for the brutal killers of her 13-year-old sister Madge Dray. Custis Straw, who loves Lucy, suffers from nightmares about the Civil War and the loss of his family. Addington, who becomes deranged as time progresses, hunts and kills animals and Indians for the sheer bloodlust. Constant motifs of blood and bloodlines pervade the novel, as the trip challenges each member to understand who s/he is by birth and who s/he has become through the accidents of history.
The great Northwest, with the power and grandeur of its scenery, its wildlife, and its rapidly changing weather provides for innumerable dramatic scenes. The honorable and caring Lucy and the venal Addington are as much the personifications of good and evil as the heroines and villains in western melodrama. Ultimately, all the plot elements unite in a satisfying conclusion which extends twenty-five years beyond the search for Simon and ties up loose ends. Rousing and absorbing, this melodrama highlights the settlement of the frontier at the expense of Indian cultures, and one can almost hear echoes of a melancholy honkytonk piano in the background. Mary Whipple
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Last Crossing
The Last Crossing by Guy Vanderhaeghe (Paperback - Sept. 23 2003)
CDN$ 22.99 CDN$ 16.60
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews