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Fiction Literary

Village of the Small Houses

A Memoir of Sorts

narrator Ian Ferguson

Goose Lane Editions
Initial publish date
Feb 2005
Literary, Humorous
  • Audio disc

    Publish Date
    Feb 2005
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


Ian Ferguson won the 2004 Leacock Medal for Humor for this outrageously funny book about growing up destitute in the far north. Beginning with the dramatic events surrounding his birth (including a paddlewheel ferry heading for destruction, a legendary rowboat trip, and a life-and-death race against time), the richly recalled events of Ferguson's life and a vivid cast of loveable misfits make for a taut and appealingly idiosyncratic tale.

In 1959, just one step ahead of the law, Hank Ferguson (the Ferguson brothers' con-artist dad" headed north in a beat-up two-toned 1953 Mercury Zephyr with his pregnant wife, Louise. He got as far as remote Fort Vermilion. Passing himself off as a teacher at the local "Indian school," he settled his ever-expanding family in what was then Canada's third poorest community — an isolated aboriginal village where plumbing and electricity were unheard of and luck seemed reserved for Whites only.

In this spirited reading, originally broadcast on CBC Radio in September 2004, Ian Ferguson's gifts as a comic actor rise exuberantly to the fore. Winner of an Audiophile Earphones Award, mixing truth and fiction with feckless abandon, Village of the Small Houses exists somewhere between Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes and W.O. Mitchell's Who Has Seen the Wind.

About the author

Ian Ferguson won the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour for his book Village of the Small Houses and is the co-author, with his brother Will Ferguson, of How to Be a Canadian, which was shortlisted for the Leacock and which won the CBA Libris Award for non-fiction. He was selected for inclusion in the Penguin Anthology of Canadian Humour, was a contributing essayist to Me Funny, an anthology of Aboriginal humour, and has had his writing published in the Globe & Mail, the National Post, Reader’s Digest, Maclean’s, and EnRoute, among other publications. For the past ten years, he has worked as a writer and creative director in the film and television industry.

Ian Ferguson's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"This story is a joy to hear. Much like listening to an old-fashioned storyteller spinning a yarn . . . It is imaginative, droll and revealing . . . [Ferguson] often sounds like he is winking at us."

<i>Cleveland Plain Dealer</i>

"Effectively narrated by the author, Village Of The Small Houses is two and one-half hours of thoughtful, entertaining, and highly recommended listening."

<i>Midwest Book Review</i>