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A Swallow Press Book

The Temptations of Big Bear
A Novel

By Rudy Wiebe

Winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award, 1973

The Temptations of Big Bear is one of the best novels, perhaps, ever written in Canada.”


“Wiebe tackles history and succeeds in making it dramatic, intriguing, romantic and tragic…. An astounding and deep portrayal of human emotion.”

Calgary Herald Magazine

“A very rare, complexly emotional and profoundly philosophical experience…. A fictional meditation, in which [Wiebe] enters the very texture of the lives of his characters, Indian and white…. He has created a style for [Big Bear's] incredible voice that fully wins our belief in its greatness and power…. A masterpiece.”

Edmonton Journal

Rudy Wiebe’s The Temptations of Big Bear is an epic of the Canadian West. As the buffalo-based food supply vanishes, Big Bear leads his Plains Cree nation across the prairie in search of a means of retaining the way of life quickly being lost—a life his people have lived for thousands of years. Against the onslaught of the White Queen’s representatives, Big Bear resists pressure to cede the ancestral right to the land of his hungry but free people in exchange for temporary nourishment and a reserve.

In this award-winning novel, Rudy Wiebe brings alive the heroism and dignity of Big Bear’s fierce struggle for justice that tore apart the Cree community and his own family. The Temptations of Big Bear is a beautifully written and moving novel about a tumultuous period in the history of the West.

Rudy Wiebe is the author of several short story collections and essays. He also is the author of eight novels, including A Discovery of Strangers and The Temptations of Big Bear, both winners of the Governor General's Award for Fiction. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta.   More info →

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