Set in the second half of the nineteenth century, in the American and Canadian West and in Victorian England, The Last Crossing is a sweeping tale of interwoven lives and stories.
Charles and Addington Gaunt must find their brother Simon, who has gone missing in the wilds of the American West. Charles, a disillusioned artist, and Addington, a disgraced military captain, enlist the services of a guide to lead them on their journey across a difficult and unknown landscape. This is the enigmatic Jerry Potts, half Blackfoot, half Scottish, who suffers his own painful past. The party grows to include Caleb Ayto, a sycophantic American journalist, and Lucy Stoveall, a wise and beautiful woman who travels in the hope of avenging her sister's vicious murder. Later, the group is joined by Custis Straw, a Civil War veteran searching for salvation, and Custis’s friend and protector Aloysius Dooley, a saloon-keeper. This unlikely posse becomes entangled in an unfolding drama that forces each person to come to terms with his own demons.
The Last Crossing contains many haunting scene—among them, a bear hunt at dawn, the meeting of a Métis caravan, the discovery of an Indian village decimated by smallpox, a sharpshooter’s devastating annihilation of his prey, a young boy’s last memory of his mother. Vanderhaeghe links the hallowed colleges of Oxford and the pleasure houses of London to the treacherous Montana plains; and the rough trading posts of the Canadian wilderness to the heart of Indian folklore. At the novel’s centre is an unusual and moving love story.
The Last Crossing is a novel of harshness and redemption, an epic masterpiece, rich with unforgettable characters and vividly described events, that solidifies Guy Vanderhaeghe’s place as one of Canada’s premier storytellers.
Praise for Guy Vanderhaeghe’s The Last Crossing:
Over 100,000 copies sold
Author of The Englishman’s Boy with 150,000 copies sold
Winner of the Harbourfront Festival Prize
A Best Book of the Year, Christian Science Monitor
A Best Book of the Year, Boston Globe
A Best Book of the Year, San Francisco Chronicle
A Best Book of the Year, Chicago Tribune
A Best Book of the Year, San Jose Mercury News
A Best Book of the Year, St. Louis Post Dispatch
A Best Book of the Year, Quill & Quire
A Best Book of the Year, Publishers Weekly
2004 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award Nominee (longlist)
Winner of Canada Reads 2004
BBC Page Turners selection
Winner of the Saskatoon Book Award
Winner of the Saskatchewan Book Awards for Fiction and for
Book of the Year
Winner of the Canadian Booksellers Association Libris Award for Fiction Book of the Year
Commonwealth Writers Prize, regional finalist
2007 One Book Montana selection
“One powerful, beautiful, and heartbreaking novel.” —San Franciso Chronicle
“Rarely are today’s hungry readers invited to such a feast of a book. . . . Here are brilliant writing, picaresque adventure, plot twists, history and studies of human nature. . . . The Last Crossing deserves honours and the widest readership. Guy Vanderhaeghe, one of North America’s best writers, is at the top of his form.” —Annie Proulx
“Bristles with rare vitality.” —Sunday Telegraph
“There’s no putting this book down….Masterful.” —The Gazette (Montreal)
“The Last Crossing is Vanderhaeghe’s masterpiece, as important a novel to this country as Ian McEwan’s Atonement was to Britain—and better conceived and executed at that.” —National Post
“Stuffed with enough goodies to keep us entertained for days.” —New York Times Book Review
“The Last Crossing is assured and impassioned, brutal and tender, a convincing re-creation of its milieu, a sharp portrait of its characters…As always, Vanderhaeghe’s muscular prose is a pleasure to read.” —The Washington Post Book World
Length: 412 pp
Setting: Victorian England, 19th century North American West
Period: post-American civil war, historical
Canadian rights, McClelland & Stewart
Dutch rights, De Geus
French rights, Editions Albin Michel
UK rights, Little Brown
US rights, Grove Atlantic
Audio rights, BTC Audiobooks
For all other rights contact The Cooke Agency.
Photo Credit: Margaret Vanderhaeghe
||Vanderhaeghe’s first book, Man Descending, was published in 1982 and won the Governor General’s Award and the Faber Prize in the UK. He went on to win the Governor General’s Award for a second time with his novel The Englishman’s Boy. He has been nominated for many major prizes in Canada and Europe. Guy Vanderhaeghe lives in Saskatoon.