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Lauren Marie
Lauren Marie

Man Descending: The Masterpiece of Guy Vanderhaeghe that Explores the Lives of Various Men Facing Personal Crises

Man Descending Guy Vanderhaeghe Pdf Free: A Review and Analysis

If you are looking for a collection of short stories that will captivate you with their vivid characters, realistic settings, and profound insights, you should check out Man Descending by Guy Vanderhaeghe. This book, published in 1982, won the Governor General's Award for Fiction and the Faber Prize in Britain. It is widely regarded as one of the best works of Canadian literature. In this article, we will review and analyze Man Descending Guy Vanderhaeghe pdf free, and tell you why you should read this book.

Man Descending Guy Vanderhaeghe Pdf Free


What is Man Descending?

Man Descending is a collection of eleven short stories that explore the lives of various men who are facing personal crises, existential dilemmas, or social challenges. The stories are set in different places and times, ranging from rural Saskatchewan in the 1930s to urban Toronto in the 1970s. The stories are linked by common themes, such as masculinity, identity, alienation, history, and humor.

Who is Guy Vanderhaeghe?

Guy Vanderhaeghe is a Canadian writer who was born in Esterhazy, Saskatchewan in 1951. He studied history and English at the University of Saskatchewan and taught at various schools before becoming a full-time writer. He has written several novels, such as The Englishman's Boy (1996), The Last Crossing (2002), and A Good Man (2011), as well as other collections of short stories, such as The Trouble with Heroes (1983) and Daddy Lenin and Other Stories (2015). He has won many awards for his writing, including three Governor General's Awards, two Saskatchewan Book Awards, and the Order of Canada.

Why is this book worth reading?

Man Descending is a book that will make you think, feel, and laugh. It will show you the complexity and diversity of human experience through the eyes of different men who are struggling to find meaning and happiness in their lives. It will also introduce you to the rich and varied culture of Canada, especially the prairie region where most of the stories are set. It will challenge you to reflect on your own values, beliefs, and choices. It will entertain you with its witty dialogue, clever plot twists, and surprising endings.

Summary of the stories

Man Descending

This story is about Victor Cracke, a former high school teacher who has lost his job due to his alcoholism and gambling addiction. He lives with his wife Edith and their two children in a rundown apartment in Saskatoon. He spends his days drinking at a bar called The Zoo, where he meets other losers like himself. He tries to impress them with his knowledge of history and literature, but they only mock him. He also tries to reconnect with his old friend Gerry Leroux, who has become a successful lawyer. However, Gerry rejects him and humiliates him in front of his colleagues. Victor realizes that he has wasted his life and that he is descending into oblivion.


This story is about Jimmy Kootenay, a young Cree man who works as a janitor at a museum in Edmonton. He is fascinated by the exhibits of animals and birds, especially the stuffed eagle that he calls Old Sol. He feels a kinship with the eagle, as he also feels trapped and caged in his life. He has no friends, no family, and no future. He is haunted by the memories of his abusive father and his dead mother. He also suffers from racism and discrimination from the white people around him. He decides to free Old Sol from the museum and take him to the mountains, where he hopes to find peace and freedom.

The Watcher

This story is about Art Beal, a middle-aged man who lives alone in a trailer park in Regina. He works as a security guard at a construction site, where he watches over the machines and materials. He has no social life, no hobbies, and no dreams. He is obsessed with watching TV, especially the news and documentaries. He believes that he can learn everything from TV, and that he can avoid the troubles and dangers of the real world by staying in his trailer. However, his isolation and paranoia soon lead him to a violent confrontation with his neighbor, who accuses him of spying on his wife.

The Last Crossing

This story is about Frank Grier, an elderly man who lives in a nursing home in Toronto. He is dying of cancer and has no visitors or friends. He spends his time reading old magazines and reminiscing about his past. He recalls his childhood in Saskatchewan, where he grew up on a farm with his parents and his brother Tom. He remembers how they used to cross the river on a ferry operated by an old man named Mr. McTavish. He also remembers how he fell in love with a girl named Alice, who was Tom's girlfriend. He confesses that he betrayed Tom by sleeping with Alice, and that he never saw her again after she left for Toronto. He regrets his actions and wishes he could see Tom and Alice one more time before he dies.

Sam, Soren and Ed

This story is about Sam Martens, a young man who works as a reporter for a small-town newspaper in Saskatchewan. He is assigned to cover the story of Soren Thorvaldson, an old farmer who has been accused of killing his wife Edna and burying her in his field. Sam interviews Soren at his farm, where he finds him living in squalor and surrounded by junk. Soren tells Sam that he did not kill Edna, but that she ran away with another man named Ed. He also tells Sam that he has a special bond with his cows, whom he calls Edna, Alice, Mary, and so on. He claims that they talk to him and comfort him. Sam is intrigued by Soren's story, but he also doubts his sanity.

The Old Man and the Sea

This story is about Harry Regan, a retired professor who lives in Vancouver with his wife Margaret. He is bored and restless in his retirement, and he misses his academic career and his students. He decides to take up fishing as a hobby, hoping to find some excitement and adventure. He buys a boat and some equipment, and sets out to catch a big fish in the Pacific Ocean. However, he soon realizes that fishing is not as easy or fun as he thought. He faces many difficulties and dangers, such as bad weather, mechanical problems, sharks, and pirates. He also discovers that he has no skill or talent for fishing, and that he is wasting his time and money.

Daddy Lenin and Other Stories

This story is about Vernon Dorge, a former radical who was involved in the student protests of the 1960s. He now works as a librarian at a university in Saskatoon, where he leads a quiet and dull life. He is divorced from his wife Sheila, who left him for another man. He has a strained relationship with his son Danny, who is a successful lawyer in Toronto. He has no friends or hobbies, except for reading books about Lenin and other revolutionaries. He tries to relive his glory days by organizing a reunion of his old comrades from the protest movement. However, he soon realizes that they have all changed and moved on with their lives, and that they have nothing in common anymore.

Themes and motifs

Masculinity and identity

Alienation and isolation

Another theme of Man Descending is alienation and isolation. The stories depict how different men feel lonely and disconnected from their families, friends, communities, and society. The stories show how some men try to escape their loneliness by seeking solace in alcohol, gambling, TV, or animals. The stories also show how some men try to overcome their isolation by reaching out to others, such as old friends, strangers, or lovers. However, most of these attempts end up in failure or disappointment.

History and memory

A third theme of Man Descending is history and memory. The stories illustrate how different men are influenced by their past experiences, such as childhood traumas, family conflicts, romantic affairs, political activism, or professional achievements. The stories show how some men are haunted by their pasts and unable to move on with their present lives. The stories also show how some men are nostalgic for their pasts and try to relive them or recreate them in their present lives. However, most of these attempts result in disillusionment or regret.

Humor and irony

A fourth theme of Man Descending is humor and irony. The stories use humor and irony to highlight the absurdity and tragedy of human existence. The stories employ various forms of humor and irony, such as sarcasm, satire, parody, exaggeration, understatement, or coincidence. The stories make fun of the characters' flaws, follies, and failures, but also reveal their humanity and sympathy. The stories also mock the conventions and expectations of society, culture, and literature, but also acknowledge their value and significance.


What makes Man Descending a masterpiece?

Man Descending is a masterpiece because it showcases the talent and skill of Guy Vanderhaeghe as a writer. It demonstrates his ability to create realistic and complex characters who are both flawed and relatable. It also demonstrates his ability to craft engaging and compelling plots that surprise and satisfy the readers. It also demonstrates his ability to convey profound and universal themes that resonate with the readers. It also demonstrates his ability to use humor and irony to enhance the impact and meaning of his stories.

Where can you find Man Descending Guy Vanderhaeghe pdf free?

If you are interested in reading Man Descending Guy Vanderhaeghe pdf free, you can find it online at various websites that offer free ebooks. However, you should be careful about the quality and legality of these websites, as some of them may contain viruses or malware that can harm your device or violate your privacy. You should also respect the rights and interests of the author and publisher of the book, who deserve to be compensated for their work. Therefore, we recommend that you buy the book from a reputable online store or a local bookstore instead.


Here are some frequently asked questions about Man Descending Guy Vanderhaeghe pdf free:

  • Q: How many pages is Man Descending?

  • A: Man Descending has 224 pages in the paperback edition.

  • Q: What genre is Man Descending?

  • A: Man Descending is a literary fiction genre that consists of short stories.

  • Q: When was Man Descending published?

  • A: Man Descending was first published in 1982 by Macmillan of Canada.

  • Q: What awards did Man Descending win?

  • A: Man Descending won the Governor General's Award for Fiction and the Faber Prize in Britain in 1982.

  • Q: What other books did Guy Vanderhaeghe write?

  • A: Guy Vanderhaeghe wrote several other books, such as The Englishman's Boy (1996), The Last Crossing (2002), A Good Man (2011), The Trouble with Heroes (1983), Daddy Lenin and Other Stories (2015), etc.



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