Village of the Small Houses: A Memoir of Sorts


201 pages
Contains Index
ISBN 1-55365-069-7
DDC 971.23'1





Reviewed by Lynne Perras

Lynne Perras teaches communication arts at the University of Calgary.


Village of the Small Houses, the 2004 recipient of the Stephen Leacock
Award for Humour, portrays small-town prairie life in northern Alberta
during the latter half of the 20th century. Described by its author as a
“memoir of sorts,” the book is both touching and amusing.

Using first-person narration, Ferguson records the memories of his
early life, from just before his birth in 1959 until he is almost 30
years old. Life is a struggle for the increasingly large family, as they
battle poverty, lack of respect from others, and the racial tensions
that lie beneath the surface of relations between the white and Native

Ferguson deals with many other kinds of conflicts and dichotomies as
well: Native medicine versus modern treatment, male versus female roles,
child versus adult perceptions, and government priorities versus citizen
concerns. He also explores the joys of being young, imaginative, and
fearless. The humour ranges from slapstick and farce to bittersweet.
Ferguson is a writer to watch.


Ferguson, Ian., “Village of the Small Houses: A Memoir of Sorts,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 20, 2024,