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Lost in the Barrens
Cover of Lost in the Barrens
Lost in the Barrens
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Awasin, a Cree Indian boy, and Jamie, a Canadian orphan living with his uncle, the trapper Angus Macnair, are enchanted by the magic of the great Arctic wastes. They set out on an adventure that proves...
Awasin, a Cree Indian boy, and Jamie, a Canadian orphan living with his uncle, the trapper Angus Macnair, are enchanted by the magic of the great Arctic wastes. They set out on an adventure that proves...
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  • Awasin, a Cree Indian boy, and Jamie, a Canadian orphan living with his uncle, the trapper Angus Macnair, are enchanted by the magic of the great Arctic wastes. They set out on an adventure that proves longer and more dangerous than they could have imagined. Drawing on his knowledge of the ways of the wilderness and the implacable northern elements, Farley Mowat has created a memorable tale of daring and adventure.

    When first published in 1956, Lost in the Barrens won the Governor-General's Award for Juvenile Literature, the Book-of-the-Year Medal of the Canadian Association of Children's Librarians and the Boys' Club of America Junior Book Award.

    From the Trade Paperback edition.

Excerpts-

  • Chapter 1

    Jamie and Awasin

    The month of June was growing old. It had been a year since Jamie Macnair left Toronto, the city of his birth, to take up a new life in the subarctic forests of northern Canada. Beside the shores of Macnair Lake the tamaracks were greening now after the winter's blackness. Out on the lake great loons cried shrilly. As Jamie squatted in front of the log cabin, helping his uncle bale up the winter's catch of furs, he tried to remember how he had felt on that day, a year past, when he climbed out of the train at the lonely frontier town called The Pas to meet his uncle.

    Jamie's uncle, Angus Macnair, had been a trader in the arctic, the master of a sealing schooner in the Bering Sea, and finally a trapper who roamed over the broad forests of the north. To Jamie, his uncle was almost a legend, and when the telegram came from him it filled the boy with excitement.

    ARRANGEMENTS MADE FOR YOU TO JOIN ME AT THE PAS STOP LETTER WITH DETAILS FOLLOWS.
    ANGUS MACNAIR

    That eagerly awaited letter had brought with it some unhappiness for Jamie. It had reminded him sharply of the tragedy of his parents' deaths in a car accident seven years ago. And it had made clear something he had never really faced before -- that apart from his uncle, whom he had never seen, he was truly alone. During the past seven years he had taken the security of the boarding school for granted. But, reading Angus Macnair's letter, he realized that it was no real home, and had never been one.

    Jamie was nine when his parents died, and Angus Macnair had become his guardian, for he was the boy's only close relative. It was Angus who had picked the boarding school in Toronto, and it was a good one too, for Angus wanted only the best for his nephew. For seven years Angus had run his trap line with furious energy in order to meet the cost of the school. But in the past two years the fur market had dropped almost out of sight, and the money was nearly at an end.

    Angus had explained it in his letter.

    "And so you see, Jamie," he wrote. "I can no longer keep you at the school. You could maybe stay on in Toronto and get a job, but you're too young for that, and anyhow I hoped you'd rather come with me. It's long past time we got to know each other. So I took the chance you'd want it this way. Your ticket is in the envelope along with enough money for the trip. And I'll be waiting, lad, and hoping that you'll come."

    Angus need have had no doubts. For years past Jamie had loved to read about the north and for years Angus Macnair had been his idol.

    In the last week of June, Jamie found himself bundled aboard the Trans-Canada train with the farewells of his school friends still ringing in his ears. For two days the train rolled westward, then it turned abruptly north through the province of Manitoba. The dark jack-pine forests began to swallow up the prairie farmlands and the train rolled on, more slowly now, over the rough roadbed leading to the frontier country.

    Five hundred miles and two days north from Winnipeg, the train drew up by a rough wooden platform. Jamie climbed uncertainly down to stand staring at the rough shanties and the nearby forests that threatened to sweep in and engulf the little settlement of The Pas.

    A huge, red-bearded man in a buckskin jacket strode forward and caught the boy hard about the shoulders in a bear hug.

    "Do ye not know me, Jamie?" he cried. And then, grinning at Jamie's stammering reply, he tightened his hold on the boy's shoulder and swung him round.

    "You've come to meet the north, my lad," he said, "and I'm thinking you'll be in love with it before the month is out."

    Angus...

About the Author-

  • Farley Mowat was born in Belleville, Ontario, in 1921, and grew up in Belleville, Trenton, Windsor, Saskatoon, Toronto, and Richmond Hill. He served in World War II from 1940 until 1945, entering the army as a private and emerging with the rank of captain. He began writing for his living in 1949 after spending two years in the Arctic. Since 1949 he has lived in or visited almost every part of Canada and many other lands, including the distant regions of Siberia. He remains an inveterate traveller with a passion for remote places and peoples. He has twenty-five books to his name, which have been published in translations in over twenty languages in more than sixty countries. They include such internationally known works as People of the Deer, The Dog Who Wouldn't Be, Never Cry Wolf, Westviking, The Boat That Wouldn't Float, Sibir, A Whale for the Killing, The Snow Walker, And No Birds Sang, and Virunga: The Passion of Dian Fossey. His short stories and articles have appeared in The Saturday Evening Post, Maclean's, Atlantic Monthly and other magazines.

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