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The Lesser Blessed Paperback – Sep 1 1996

4.8 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Douglas & McIntyre (Sept. 1 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1550545256
  • ISBN-13: 978-1550545258
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 14 x 26 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 113 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #57,108 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"The Lesser Blessed is easily one of the most truthful, painful, powerful novels I've ever read." -- Joseph Bruchac

The Lesser Blessed, by Richard Van Camp, is the first-person account of Larry Sole, a member of the Dogrib Indian tribe, who, after being sexually abused by his father, kills him in his sleep with a hammer and sets the house on fire. (The account in the Yellowknife newspaper reported that the contusions on the victim's head were a result of his falling down the stairs.) Larry is in the seventh grade when all this happens; when the novel opens he is in grade eleven, living with his mother, who is working hard to improve their lot in life by studying to be a teacher.

On the first day of school he notices a newcomer, a Métis named Johnny Beck. Johnny, with his tough-guy attitude, smart-ass remarks, and surly good looks, makes an immediate impression. Larry becomes Johnny's sidekick: "He was everything I wasn't. He was bad news but still.." This partnership leads Larry to a number of new and unexpected experiences, including standing by as Johnny dates Juliet Hope-the girl Larry himself loves.

Van Camp penetrates the lives of his characters with compassion and empathy, portraying an adolescent world that-at least in the consciousness of Larry Sole-transcends the fights, drugs, music, and sex that characterize the stereotypical high school experience. Despite their swaggering and false bravado, their pretence at indifference, Larry, Johnny, and Juliet are oddly moving, especially in their relationships with one another. Eva Tihanyi(Books in Canada) -- Books in Canada

About the Author

An internationally renowned storyteller and best-selling author, Richard Van Camp was born in Fort Smith, NWT, and is a member of the Dogrib (Tlicho) Dene Nation. He acted as a cultural consultant for CBC Television’s North of 60. A graduate of the En’owkin School of Writing in Penticton, he completed his BFA in Writing at the University of Victoria and completed his MFA of Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia. Richard was awarded Storyteller of the Year for both Canada and the US by the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers.

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This book haunts me. I hated it at first - it was so different from my (English equivalent of) high school. At first I found it brash and coarse. But it ended up being probably the most beautiful, profound and real book I have ever read. I agree with the other reviewers who rate it as a classic. It should be one. It is one for me. It affected me in many ways: for example, it changed the way I think about teenage sex. Instead of being something risky and somewhat tawdry I now see how, in some circumstances, it can be transformative and healing - even spiritual.
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By A Customer on Nov. 28 2003
Format: Paperback
"[Van Camp] does not stumble over nostalgia or romanticism or careless diction. He loves words-his own, his Nation's, rock and roll's-and slips perfect ones into atrociously profane and perfect sentences..."
--Lorna Jackson for The Malahat Review (Summer, 1997)
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By A Customer on Nov. 27 2003
Format: Paperback
The Lesser Blessed. Richard Van Camp. Douglas & McIntyre, 1996. Reviewed by Dr. Geary Hobson.
In virtually every generation, in the realm of literary activity, there comes along a
book that, by the very nature of its subject matter and place and the sheer exuberance
of its utterances reverberant of the place and people depicted, introduces not only a
little-known terra firma and people, but sometimes becomes the definer of that era in
which it is produced. Not surprisingly, these books are usually the products of younger
writers. Wordsworth's and Coleridge's Lyrical Ballads, Jane Austin's novels, the
work of the Brontes, Stephen Crane's stories, Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises
ushering in the Lost Generation, Kerouac's Beat Generation introduced in On The
Road, Salinger's Holden Caulfield wandering through Catcher in the Rye, the jaded
"me"-obsessed teens in Bret Easton Ellis's Less Than Zero, Native American
sensibilities in Momaday's House Made of Dawn, and a generation later, Alexie's The
Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven-all these books and writers burst forth
in such dynamic ways that not only defined their respective eras, shook the accepted
literary standards of their day, but expanded and extended the English lan-{78}guage,
while at the same time occasioning the debut of sometimes extraordinary new literary
In my view, Richard Van Camp, a Dogrib Nation writer born in Fort Smith,
Northwest Territories, Canada, in 1971, is accomplishing virtually the same thing in his
first novel, The Lesser Blessed, as Hemingway, Kerouac, et al. did in their times.
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Format: Paperback
This book is semi-stream-of-consciousness brilliance, with an interesting character whose depths are revealed slowly and skillfully. It is dark and gets darker as the narrative unfolds. But what a read. Terrific.
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