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Tay John (New Canadian Library) Mass Market Paperback – March 1, 1989


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Product Details

  • Series: New Canadian Library (Book 105)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: New Canadian Library (March 1, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0771098502
  • ISBN-13: 978-0771098505
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,267,245 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

The awesome terrain of the Rocky Mountains is the setting for this extraordinary novel about a heroic man who boldly defies destiny. Tay John, a messianic halfbreed, is fated to lead his people to their Promised Land. In a rebellious act of will, he turns to the mountains to seek his own truths.

This richly populated novel vividly depicts the exotic and rootless people who wound their way to the Canadian Northwest. It is a powerful modern legend that ranges over all aspects of the human heart and mind, incorporating passion and hatred, tragedy and triumph.

About the Author

Howard O’Hagan was born in Lethbridge, Alberta, in 1902. As a young man, he worked on survey parties in the Rockies before moving to Montreal to study law at McGill University. After practising law for a brief time, he returned to western Canada to work as a tour guide in Banff National Park.

Stephen Leacock helped O’Hagan obtain employment with the Canadian Pacific Railroad recruiting farm labourers from England. He also worked for the Canadian National Railroad in Jasper and in New York and for the Argentine National Railroad in Buenos Aires.

While living in San Francisco in the thirties, O’Hagan began a series of sketches of guides, mountain men, and trappers that formed the background for his novel Tay John (1939), which he completed on an island in Howe Sound on the British Columbia coast.

One of the first western Canadians to make a major contribution to Canadian literature, O’Hagan found occasional work in the fifties as a journalist in Victoria, British Columbia, and as a labourer on the waterfront and on survey crews.

In 1963 O’Hagan moved to Sicily, where he lived for more than a decade. He returned to Victoria in 1974.

Howard O’Hagan died in Victoria in 1982.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By monkey mind on December 15, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This novel may seem unpolished and unsophisticated on the surface, but the beauty of it is how it deals with lofty, obscure themes in an easily understood, down to earth manner. Another wonderful aspect of the novel is the way it betrays the readers expectations throughout; meaning that the less said about the plot ahead of time the better. The setting of the novel, in O'Hagan's hand's, is absolutely intergral to the story and if I ever need a trip to the mountains but don't have the time for the drive I know I can always pick up this book.

Furthermore, I find the NCL series of books from McClelland and Stewart to be top notch paperbacks.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
If ever you feel indignation, read this book, think twice, then go out to your garage and hold an axe up to your wrist. If you feel that your "being" has been stretched as far Tay John's has, than swing away. Otherwise, shut up and stop feeling sorry for yourself.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Howard O'Hagan is, with great regret, an obscurity floating against the distant shores of the literary canon. The first strike against him may be that he was Canadian. Canadian authors always seem segregated from the rest of literature, relegated to the dim recesses of academia or a dusty shelf at the local library. The only Canadian authors who receive some recognition are Margaret Atwood and Alice Munro, and even they are hardly household names. Perhaps this ignorance towards Canadian literature stems from Canada's position in respect to the United States, that Canada just does not have as much to offer the world because of its location next to a global entertainment powerhouse. I am writing to tell you this is not the case: Canadians produced, and continue to produce, a richly diverse body of literature. O'Hagan's novel "Tay John" stands as proof of this wonderful richness. Set in late 19th and early 20th century Canada, "Tay John" tells the story of an Indian messiah of enigmatic origins as he moves through the vastness of the Canadian West.
The novel breaks down into three parts: the first reads like an Indian story, outlining the birth and destiny of Tay John (an anglicized name taken from Tete Jaune, or Yellow Head, referring to Tay John's mane of yellow hair). In this section, O'Hagan explains that Tay John is the offspring of Red Rorty, a white trapper on a religious crusade, and Hanni, a Shuswap Indian he beds while living among the tribe. The result of this union is Kumkleseem (Tay John), a yellow haired youth destined to become a leader who will lead the Shuswaps to a promised land of great plenty.
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