Sponsored Collection

Atlantic Books for the Holidays

Recommended Reading List
9781927366905_cover
Download list
Please login or register to use this feature.

Grant Buday: On Historical Novels

By 49thShelf
0 ratings
rated!
rated!
tagged:
Grant Buday's latest book is ORPHANS OF EMPIRE. He writes: My interest in history began with early-onset nostalgia at the age of six. That’s when I started school and understood that an era of my life was gone forever. Since then I have spent a lot of time looking back. Sometimes way back. The Venetian, my first novel, is about Marco Polo. Orphans of Empire, my most recent novel, addresses a little known fact about the origins of Vancouver, which is that it was not Gastown but further east along the Burrard Inlet at New Brighton. While I could never pinpoint any single dominating influence on this latest book, the following eight historical novels have all informed it in one way or another.
Burning Water

Burning Water

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
More Info
Why it's on the list ...
If there is such a beast as West Coast Literature, Burning Water is, to paraphrase Mr. Micawber, the banner beneath which we all advance. It is the story of George Vancouver and his relationships with such figures as James Cook and Don Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra.
close this panel
Spit Delaney's Island

Spit Delaney's Island

edition:Paperback
also available: Paperback eBook
More Info
Why it's on the list ...
Magic Realism on Vancouver Island. Rustic, whacky, sweetly eccentric.
close this panel
Badlands

Badlands

An Illustrated Tribute
edition:Hardcover
also available: Paperback
More Info
Why it's on the list ...
Set in 1916, scientist William Dawe leads an expedition into Alberta’s “badlands” in search of dinosaur bones.
close this panel
Coming Through Slaughter
Why it's on the list ...
For me this is Mr. Ondaatje at his best, visual, tactile, quietly humorous, savouring characters from New Orleans circa 1900 in all their idiosyncrasy and aspiring to evoke the mystery of creativity embodied in the music of cornet player Buddy Bolden.
close this panel
The Collected Works of Billy the Kid
Excerpt

I send you a picture of Billy made with the Perry shutter as quick as it can be worked–Pyro and soda developer. I am making daily experiments now and find I am able to take passing horses at a lively trot square across the line of fire–bits of snow in the air–spokes well defined–some blur on top of wheel but sharp in the main–men walking are no trick–I will send you proofs sometime. I shall show you what can be done from the saddle without ground glass or tripod–please notice when you get the specimens that they were made with the lens wide open and many of the best exposed when my horse was in motion

*

These are the killed.

(By me)–
Morton, Baker, early friends of mine.
Joe Bernstein. 3 Indians.
A blacksmith when I was twelve, with a knife.
5 Indians in self defence (behind a very safe rock).
One man who bit me during a robbery.
Brady, Hindman, Beckwith, Joe Clark,
Deputy Jim Carlyle, Deputy Sheriff J.W. Bell.
And Bob Ollinger. A rabid cat,
birds during practice,

These are the killed.

(By them)–
Charlie, Tom O’Folliard
Angela D’s split arm,

and Pat Garrett

sliced off my head.
Blood a necklace on me all my life.

*

Christmas at Fort Sumner, 1880. There were five of us together then. Wilson, Dave Rudabaugh, Charlie Bowdre, Tom O’Folliard, and me. In November we celebrated my 21st birthday, mixing red dirt and alcohol–a public breathing throughout the night. The next day we were told that Pat Garrett had been made sheriff and had accepted it. We were bad for progress in New Mexico and cattle politicians like Chisum wanted the bad name out. They made Garrett sheriff and he sent me a letter saying move out or I will get you Billy. The government sent a Mr. Azariah F. Wild to help him out. Between November and December I killed Jim Carlyle over some mixup, he being
a friend.

Tom O’Folliard decided to go east then, said he would meet up with us in Sumner for Christmas. Goodbye goodbye. A few days before Christmas we were told that Garrett was in Sumner waiting for us all. Christmas night. Garrett, Mason, Wild, with four or five others. Tom O’Folliard rides into town, leaning his rifle between the horse’s ears. He would shoot from the waist now which, with a rifle, was pretty good, and he was always accurate.

Garrett had been waiting for us, playing poker with the others, guns on the floor beside them. Told that Tom was riding in alone, he went straight to the window and shot O’Folliard’s horse dead. Tom collapsed with the horse still holding the gun and blew out Garrett’s window. Garrett already halfway downstairs. Mr. Wild shot at Tom from the other side of the street, rather unnecessarily shooting the horse again. If Tom had used stirrups and didnt swing his legs so much he would probably have been locked under the animal. O’Folliard moved soon. When Garrett had got to ground level, only the horse was there in the open street, good and dead. He couldnt shout to ask Wild where O’Folliard was or he would’ve got busted. Wild started
to yell to tell Garrett though and Tom killed him at once. Garrett fired at O’Folliard’s flash and took his shoulder off. Tom O’Folliard screaming out onto the quiet Fort Sumner street, Christmas night, walking over to Garrett, no shoulder left, his jaws tilting up and down like mad bladders going. Too mad to even aim at Garrett. Son of a bitch son of a bitch, as Garrett took clear aim and blew him out.

Garrett picked him up, the head broken in two, took him back upstairs into the hotel room. Mason stretched out a blanket neat in the corner. Garrett placed Tom O’Folliard down, broke open Tom’s rifle, took the remaining shells and placed them by him. They had to wait till morning now. They continued their poker game till six a.m. Then remembered they hadnt done anything about Wild. So the four of them went out, brought Wild into the room. At eight in the morning Garrett buried Tom O’Folliard. He had known him quite well. Then he went to the train station, put Azariah F. Wild on ice and sent him back to Washington.

*

In Boot Hill there are over 400 graves. It takes
the space of 7 acres. There is an elaborate gate
but the path keeps to no main route for it tangles
like branches of a tree among the gravestones.

300 of the dead in Boot Hill died violently
200 by guns, over 50 by knives
some were pushed under trains–a popular
and overlooked form of murder in the west.
Some from brain haemorrhages resulting from bar fights
at least 10 killed in barbed wire.

In Boot Hill there are only 2 graves that belong to women
and they are the only known suicides in that graveyard

*

The others, I know, did not see the wounds appearing in the sky, in the air. Sometimes a normal forehead in front of me leaked brain gases. Once a nose clogged right before me, a lock of skin formed over the nostrils, and the shocked face had to start breathing through mouth, but then the moustache bound itself in the lower teeth and he began to gasp loud the hah! hah! going strong–churned onto the floor, collapsed out, seeming in the end to be breathing out of his eye–tiny needle jets of air reaching into the throat. I told no one. If Angela D. had been with me then, not even her; not Sallie, John, Charlie, or Pat. In the end the only thing that never changed, never became deformed, were animals.

*

Mmmmmmmm mm thinking
moving across the world on horses
body split at the edge of their necks
neck sweat eating at my jeans
moving across the world on horses
so if I had a newsman’s brain I’d say
well some morals are physical
must be clear and open
like diagram of watch or star
one must eliminate much
that is one turns when the bullet leaves you
walk off see none of the thrashing
the very eyes welling up like bad drains
believing then the moral of newspapers or gun
where bodies are mindless as paper flowers you dont feed
or give to drink
that is why I can watch the stomach of clocks
shift their wheels and pins into each other
and emerge living, for hours

close this panel
Why it's on the list ...
The combination of poems, prose, and photos was a small revelation in form to me when I first read it.
close this panel
The Wars

The Wars

Penguin Modern Classics Edition
edition:Paperback
More Info
Why it's on the list ...
Beautifully tactile evocation of one Canadian soldier’s experience of World War I.
close this panel
Elle

Elle

A Novel
edition:Paperback
also available: Paperback eBook
More Info
Why it's on the list ...
I admire the outrageous license taken with a historical character. Set initially in 1542, it is Rabelaisian, grotesque, absurdly funny, and whatever it lacks in warmth it makes up in imagination and brio as the eponymous heroine goes native and remakes herself into a bear
close this panel
Orphans of Empire

Orphans of Empire

A Novel
edition:eBook
also available: Paperback
tagged : historical

"Meticulously researched and vividly drawn, Orphans of Empire brings to life the half-forgotten world of early British Columbia. This is an immersive, shimmering novel." —Steven Price, author of #1 nationally bestselling By Gaslight and Giller-shortlisted Lampedusa

In Grant Buday's new novel, three captivating stories intertwine at the site of the New Brighton Hotel on the shores of Burrard Inlet. In 1858 the serious and devoted Sir Richard Clement Moody receives the commission of a lifetim …

More Info
comments powered by Disqus

There are two ways to make a reading list

This way:

  1. Click the "Create a New List" button just above this panel.
  2. Add as many books as you wish using the built-in search on the list edit page.

Or that way:

  1. Go to any book page.
  2. In the right-hand column, click on "Add to List." A drop-down menu will appear.
  3. From the drop-down menu, either add your book to a list you have already created or create a new list.
  4. View and edit your lists anytime on your profile page.
X
Contacting facebook
Please wait...