Cover Image: Him Standing

Him Standing

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Member Reviews

Not my usual cup of tea but caught my attention from the first page. A wonderful insight in to a lifestyle that most will never experience. Great

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Thanks, NetGalley, for the advance audio book in exchange for an honest review.

This is a short story about Lucas Smoke, who makes wooden masks. He is Ojibway and learned the art from his grandfather. Lucas is highly talented, and people out of the woodwork (haha) to seek out and commission his masks. As his celebrity grows, a stranger offers a big money advance to carve a mask of the Master, but Lucas must discern the visual components of the mask through dreams. The dreams get creepier and creepier and he can feel himself being pulled in. An old woman makes him a surprise introduction and Lucas is the good who must fight the evil to save the world.

Oooohhh this book got inside my head. It was short but well worth the listen. It was well written and the feelings, emotions and atmosphere came through in the writing. The narrator was great. BUT this audiobook definitely creeped me out!!!! It literally gave me the shivers and I was jumpy for days. Some people look for that and to those people, look no further, here it is.

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I received this audiobook from NetGalley as an advanced listening copy (ALC). Thank you to NetGalley, Bespeak Audio Editions, and the late Richard Wagamese for allowing me to listen in exchange for my honest review.

I plan to review this audiobook with soft spoilers, so read at your own risk. My review style for audiobooks is to rate the book and the narration separately with the average being the final rating (i.e. a 3 star book with a 5 star narration= 4 star overall rating).

Billy Merasty is amazing. If there is ever a book based on Native Americans or First Nations people he should always narrate it. The only thing that is a knock against him is that he is bit one note in his voice acting (and that’s me being picky).
Narration: 4.5/5 stars

Story Structure:
This short story is a phenomenal social horror about a First Nation’s individuals fight to survive against an ancient shaman. Lucas has a talent for wood art, a talent passed down from his grandfather while growing up on The Res. His talents bring him good fortunes and a decent living until he gets the typical offer he couldn’t refuse.
Story: 5/5 stars

This story is very much Stephen King-esque. It has a similar atmosphere as King’s short story “The Man in the Black Suit”. Just all around great story telling and a compelling story.

Overall rating: 4.75/5 stars

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4.5 stars

Creepy, fun, a bit intense, and (thankfully!) not as devastating as some of Wagamese’s other books. I really enjoyed this one; the author was a powerful storyteller, and I love the characters and plots that he weaves together. I’m thrilled to have the chance to check out a couple new (to me- I know they were published previously) texts from his wide-ranging collection of work.

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This was a quick read, a fable about the evil power of money to change us and corrupt our artistic souls.

The story is about an Ojibway carver descended from a long line of carvers who has begun to earn enough from his art to support himself, an exciting accomplishment. He has a girlfriend he loves and is happy. Then a man comes and offers him an enormous sum to carve a mask to the man's specifications. Naturally he immediately starts fantasizing about how life-changing this money will be, even though he was previously pretty happy with the life he had.

As he begins to carve, the malevolent force of the man who has hired him begins to take over. The carver works manically on the piece, isolates himself from his girlfriend, and when she becomes alarmed and tries to reach him, lashes out at her in a voice barely his own.

The book proceeds to a dramatic showdown between good and evil, complete with an ancient female shaman on the good side. I gave the book three stars because the simplicity of the story felt almost childlike to me, like, as I mentioned, an extended fable might. The characters were all types more than real people. But if you want a spooky story that is more about the plot than the people, this book is perfect and would even make a fun read with children.

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I had no idea what this book was about when I decided to read it, which is pretty par for the course for me! I am so glad that I picked it up! I love learning about Native American tribes, cultures, and people so this book was a pleasant surprise for me!

This author did an amazing job drawing you into the story and how Lucas was feeling and struggling to find a way out of his situation. I always love books and stories about people learning and growing into their truth and this story was just that.

I will definitely be picking up more books by this author.


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An artist with exceptional wood carving skills is specifically head hunted and commissioned to make a Spirit Mask by an ominous figure with a mysterious background. He accepts the terms of the contract with a handshake, but henceforth seems to be slowly taken over by an evil force for which he doesn't understand.

This is an excellent novella. It was creepy and scary and the narrator was a perfect fit for this audiobook. Of course I wish a longer version had been written but it packed a punch within that short space of time. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and as a horror fan would love to see this on the Big Screen. I highly recommend this book and will be looking to read more from this author in the future.

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Him Standing is a dark and mystical novella about Lucas Smoke, an Ojibway man who is a talented wood carver, an art which has been passed down for generations. He is commissioned by a stranger to carve a spirit mask, but he needs to see the face of this mask in his dreams first. His dreams become disturbing and then Lucas discovers the true nature of the what he has been asked to do.

The story and audiobook narration are so well executed that this did not feel like reading a book, it felt like I was sitting by a fire in a little cabin in the woods listening to Billy Merasty and Richard Wagamese telling a story. It was a truly immersive experience. I also loved that the audiobook ended with Richard Wagamese's About the Author summary, in the present tense, as it was written in the book. It makes it feel like he is still there in the woods outside Kamloops, winding between the trees and whispering stories to us. He truly is one of Canada's foremost Native authors and journalists, and I am very grateful to NetGalley and Bespeak Audio Editions for allowing me to listen to an advance copy of this audiobook in exchange for my honest review.

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I enjoyed this! I've quite liked everything I've read from Richard Wagamese, I like the way he incorporates Indigenous knowledge/myth into his stories. This was a short novella, so it went quick and there wasn't anything overly deep to it, just a good story.

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an audio copy to listen to and review.

Wow. I don't even know how to describe how much I love the audio version. It was so powerful and engaging. I don't normally read horror books; but this one was just brilliant. I love Indigenous writing and legends. There is always so much to learn. I highly recommend this story - on audio, if you can.

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When I requesed this audiobook, I didn't realise it was more of a novella at just over 2 hours long but it was a good story and I've alway loved the mythology behind mask carving. In Him Standing, Lucas Smoke learns the art of carving from his grandfather. He discovers that he is a natural; he can literally make people come to life in wood. But when Lucas is asked to carve a spirit mask by a mysterious stranger, he quickly learns that his skill with a knife could cost him his dreams. I wasn;'t sure of the narrator Billy Merasty to start off with but his stilted gutteral tones do suit the story very well. and I will look for more stories from this authors back catalogue.

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I decided to start to check out #Netgalley for the first time in years and was excited to find an audiobook for Him Standing, a young adult title by Richard Wagamese. Billy Merasty is the narrator who I also enjoyed in his reading of Moon of the Crusted Snow.

Lucas is Ojibway and a gifted wood carver just like his grandfather. He can see anything and capture the most wonderful details in the wood. One day a mysterious man in black hires him to carve a spirit mask and all he has to do is dream first. when the boundary between dream and awake, dark and light, become blurred it is up to Lucas and his girlfriend Amy to set things right. There is an air of terror that permeates this story and I was here for it. A quick and immersive story in Wagamese's brilliant prose.

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Lucas Smoke is an indigenous carver, and comes from a long family line of carvers. A commission request comes to him from a mysterious man. Lucas, through visions and dreams, begins to realize that this commission is not what he thought but it may be too late before he realizes the evil intent behind the commission.

I loved hearing this one on audio. Often I wonder if I’m pronouncing names right so this was incredibly helpful to have.

This author is legendary. This book packs punch with it being such a short book.

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This was an interesting read.

Very much an Indigenous magical realism book. Something very unique.

I enjoyed the tale and even found it eerie at times.

It reminded me of an Indigenous Haruki Murakami book, which I liked a lot.

I found this book a fresh departure for Wagamese and thought it was very stylized.

I would recommend checking it out!


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Him Standing was a great short horror read. I would have loved to see this extended out a bit longer to get more of Lucas descending into a sort of madness through his dreams. I still love Wagamese's writing and this had a great pace. His style just works a little better in long form in my opinion.

I really enjoyed the narration of this audiobook. The narrator has an amazing husky voice and cadence that lent perfectly to the story.

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