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4/5 (19 evaluări)
159 pagini
2 ore
22 mai 2012


In the old days there were songs...

Something is bothering Russel Susskit. He hates waking up to the sound of his father's coughing, the smell of diesel oil, the noise of snow machines starting up.
     Only Oogruk, the shaman who owns the last team of dogs in the village, understands Russel's longing for the old ways and the songs that celebrated them. But Oogruk cannot give Russel the answers he seeks; the old man can only prepare him for what he must do alone. Driven by a strange, powerful dream of a long-ago self and by a burning desire to find his own song, Russel takes Oogruk's dogs on an epic journey of self-discovery that will change his life forever.
22 mai 2012

Despre autor

Gary Paulsen (1939-2021) wrote more than two hundred books for children and adults. Three of his novels – Hatchet, Dogsong, and The Winter Room – were Newbery Honor books. In 1997, he received the ALA's Margaret A. Edwards Award for his contribution to young adult literature. His books have sold over 35 million copies around the world.

Legat de Dogsong

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Dogsong - Gary Paulsen





I came wet into the world.

On both sides there were cliffs,

white cliffs that were my mother’s thighs.

And I didn’t cry though it was cold

by the white cliffs and I was afraid.

I came wet into the world.

—an old Eskimo man relating the memory of his birth in a snowhouse on the sea ice.

Russel Susskit rolled out of the bunk and put his feet on the floor and listened in the darkness to the sounds of morning.

They were the same sounds he had always heard, sounds he used to listen for. Now in the small government house—sixteen by twenty—they grated like the ends of a broken bone.

He heard his father get up and hack and cough and spit into the stove. His father smoked cigarettes all day, rolled them with Prince Albert tobacco, and had one hanging on his lip late into the night. In the mornings he had to cough the cigarettes up. The sound tore at Russel more than at his father. It meant something that did not belong on the coast of the sea in a small Eskimo village. The coughing came from Outside, came from the tobacco which came from Outside and Russel hated it.

After the coughing and spitting there was the sound of the fire being lit, a sound he used to look forward to as he woke. The rustle of paper and kindling and diesel fuel, which was used to start the wood, the scratch of a match, the flame taking and the stink of the diesel oil filling the one room. Russel did not like the smell of the diesel oil but he did not hate it the way he hated his father’s coughing in the morning.

Russel heard the wind outside and that was good except that it carried the sounds of the village waking, which meant the sound of snowmachine engines starting up.

The snowmachines were loud and scared the seals. To fourteen-year-old Russel the whine of them above the wind hurt as much as the sound of coughing. He was coming to hate them, too.

It was still dark in the house because the village generator hadn’t been turned on for the day. The darkness was cut by the light of the oil lamp on the table as his father touched a match to the wick.

Flat light filled the room and Russel looked around as he always did. It was a standard government house—a winter house. They would move to summer fish-camps later. But in the winter they came into the village and stayed in the government houses. Boxes is what they are, really, he thought: boxes to put people in.

In one corner there was a small table with an oilcloth table cover. The cloth was patterned with roses and Russel did not know why his father had ordered it. There were no women there. Russel’s mother had been gone for years, gone with a white trapper. But his father had liked the roses on the tablecloth and had sent for it. Russel had never seen a rose except on the tablecloth and on television over at the central meeting house where there was a set for watching. He did not think roses were as pretty as the small flowers that came in the tundra in the summer while they were taking salmon from the rivers. But his father liked the roses and Russel liked his father so he tried liking the roses.

All around the walls were pictures of Jesus.

His father loved Jesus more than he loved the roses. When he was young his father had told him about Jesus and Russel had listened but he didn’t understand. He supposed the idea was something that came when you got old, the understanding of Jesus, and in the meantime he looked at all the pictures and wondered what they meant.

There was one in which Jesus had thorns on his head and they were cutting into him and making him bleed. Russel asked his father why Jesus would want to do such a thing.

Because he is the Son of God and is meant to suffer for your sins, his father said, which made no sense at all to Russel: the story of Jesus happened so long ago, back in the Before Time, and Russel couldn’t remember doing anything wrong enough to make a man shove thorns in his head. But he said nothing against it. Jesus kept his father from drinking, in some way which he also did not understand, and that was good. When his father used to drink, things were all bad and if Jesus kept that out of his life, even if He did it mysteriously, that was all right.

But he got bored with the pictures around the walls showing Jesus with light in back of him and bleeding and carrying a cross. Even in the tiny bathroom where there was the bucket there was also a picture of Jesus, and another hung over the stove. All the pictures were cut out of religious magazines which people Outside had sent his father.

Two snowmachines went by the house. They were moving fast, too fast to stop in the dark if something jumped out in front of them. Russel winced at the noise.

Russel owned a snowmachine. Owned a motor sled. And he used it. But he didn’t like snowmachines and used one only because he needed a means to get around and he didn’t have any dogs. There were almost no dogs in the village. Just one team, owned by old Oogruk. And Oogruk didn’t use them but simply kept them for memories.

Russel pulled on his felt-duffel slippers and slipped them inside the rubber shoepacs that made up the outer boot. He had slept in his pants and it took only a moment to pull the undershirt on and a sweater.

He stepped out to the food cache in the dark. It was an elevated wooden hut filled with caribou and seal and fish meat. Earlier in the winter the men and boys of the village had gone back into the hills on snowmachines and found a herd of caribou and they had worked around them with rifles, killing into the center. Russel and his father had taken twelve of them, some others had killed twenty or more, and they brought the meat back on sledges pulled by the snowmachines.

Russel used a hatchet to chop off some slivers of caribou and a tiny bit of seal meat. He took them back in the house.

On the wood stove was a pan and he pulled it over onto the heat and threw in the seal and caribou meat. The frozen seal meat started to melt and give off oil and soon the smell of the meat filled the room and he liked that.

He stood looking down at the pan and when the meat was warm—still nearly raw—he took out a piece of caribou and put it in his mouth and used an ulu—a short curved knife—to cut the meat just on the edge of his lips.

He chewed and swallowed, then took another bite. Cutting it cleanly, chewing, staring at the stove, the pan, at nothing.

You should cook the meat longer, his father said, coming from the bathroom. We do not eat it raw anymore.

Russel said nothing, nodded, but took more meat.

There are small things in the meat to make you sick. Small worms and bugs. When you cook the meat more it kills them.

I was hungry.

Well. Next time, eh?

Russel nodded. Next time.

His father watched the meat cook. We used to eat everything raw but now we have learned to cook it. That’s one of the good things we learned.

Russel smiled. Raw meat tastes better. You get the blood then.

That’s true. But you also get the small things to make you sick. It’s better to cook it.

Yes, Father. He wanted to go on and say, Father, I am not happy with myself, but he did not. It was not the sort of thing you talked about, this feeling he had, unless you could find out what was causing it. He did not know enough of the feeling to talk.

There were some of the old things that were not bad, his father said. "I am too young to remember many of them, but I was told a lot of them by my father. You did not meet him because before you were born he died in a bad storm on the sea. His umiak was torn by ice when they were walrus hunting and all the men in the boat died but one who rode to the ice on a sealskin float. It was an awful thing, an awful thing. The women cut themselves deep and bled in grief when they learned. I was just a small boy, but I remember the grief."

His father scratched himself and took some meat, still nearly raw. I like the blood taste, too. He bit, cut and chewed and put the ulu back on the stove top.

Father, something is bothering me.

He replied around the meat. I know. I have seen it.

But I don’t know what it is.

I know that, too. It is part that you are fourteen and have thirteen winters and there are things that happen then which are hard to understand. But the other part that is bothering you I cannot say because I lack knowledge. You must get help from some other place.

Russel nodded, then thought. But where?

His father looked at the ceiling, back down, thinking. When I have trouble that I do not understand I sometimes get help from Jesus Christ.

Russel hesitated. He did not want to sound discourteous but he was sure Jesus wouldn’t help.

But you do not have Jesus so that may not work for you. If you do not have Jesus I think you should go and talk to Oogruk. He is old and sometimes wise and he also tells good stories.

Oogruk? For help?

His father laughed. I know. You think he is old and just babbles. But there are two things there, there are Oogruk’s words and there is Oogruk’s song. Songs and words are not always the same. They do not always say the same thing. Sometimes words lie—but the song is always true. If you listen to Oogruk’s words, sometimes they don’t make sense. But if you listen to his song, there is much to learn from Oogruk.

All right. I will go. But will Oogruk give a song to me?

Russel had heard about the songs his father spoke of. They were private and belonged only to the person who owned them. Now almost no one had a song.

That is for him to know. Now go and get more meat. You did not bring in enough. His father thought a moment. And bring in two of the heads so they will begin to thaw.

You want the heads?

Not for me. For Oogruk. Take the heads when you go, as a gift. He loves the eyes.

Russel nodded and went out into the dark again.


There was a time when I was young. It was a bad time when there was not meat anywhere you looked and we had eaten of all the dogs.

We asked our old mother if we could kill her and eat of her until the deer came back and we would have done that thing. We would have done that thing. But that morning a deer came and my uncle took it with an arrow in the right manner and we did not have to do that thing. More deer came and we did not have to eat our old mother.

—an old Eskimo telling of his youth.

Russel had been in Oogruk’s house many times but he always stopped before he went in. The dogs always drew him, drew his eyes over and he stopped. They were tied near the elevated food cache—a rough log hut up on stilts—and they watched him with interested eyes, slanted, deep

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  • (4/5)
    Russell is a young boy in an Eskimo village who is unhappy that his people have strayed from their traditions. He takes the village shaman's dogs and sled out alone, on a quest to find his own song.I've generally enjoyed Paulsen's books, but I couldn't get into this one at all. Just not my cuppa, I suppose.
  • (5/5)
    yeetus yeetus commit self deletus. Yeet YeetYeet YeetYeet YeetvYeet YeetYeet YeetYeet Yeet
  • (4/5)
    This is my second Gary Paulsen book, and I think I liked it better than the first, "Hatchet", which I liked a lot.This story revolves around an young teenager who is suddenly unhappy about his life, but is not sure why. His father has found hope and life in his faith, but Russel is drawn to the ways of the past, of the sled and dogs, of the closeness with the natural world. He seeks out the elder in the village, and through his teaching and dreams, finds himself on a quest to run his sled and dogs as long and as far as he can.The author has a writing style that is interesting, that draws you into the story and keeps you turning the pages. I started this book at the bus stop before work, picked it up again after supper, and proceeded to complete it just past midnight. I'm tired today, but "Dogsong" was worth it!
  • (2/5)
    Too many dead dogs. :(
  • (5/5)
  • (4/5)
    Want to read about an fourteen year old Eskimo who sled races across Alaska?Russell Susskit is the boy you’re looking for! Of course, he’ll have to break in the dogs, brave the elements, and pray he doesn’t starve to death or get killed by caribou. To win this race, he’ll have to draw from the strength of his people to become a true leader….a pack leader. If for no other reason than to save the girl that fate has put onto his sled.Gary Paulson’s done it again! His tale of bravery in the face of nature will awe any young mind. Especially your male students. There’s no better way to introduce them to literature than to get their adrenaline pumping with this story of survival!
  • (5/5)
    A boy ants to bring back the old ways to the village. But it is said that you go to hell if you do. I reccomend this book for people who like dogs and adventure.
  • (4/5)
    Russel is a young man who sees his people are estranged from their Eskimo culture. He makes his way to Oogruk, an Eskimo shaman and wise man. Oogruk teaches Russel how to hunt and how to survive and sends him off on his own to test his abilities. This is what our young men are seeking, I think, even in America today…a way to connect with their elders and learn to make it on their own…heroism…adventure…sacrifice.
  • (5/5)
    Russel learns the ways of the olden times and sets off to find his own song. On his way, he keeps having dreams of the older version of himself and meets a prengant girl half dead, and set off to the north pole.
  • (4/5)
    Native Alaskan Russel Susskit hates waking up in the morning to the sound of his father's coughing and snowmobiles starting up. Oogruk, the shaman, has the last dog team in the village. Driven by a strange, powerfuld dream of a long-ago self, Russel and the dogs set out on a journey of self-discovery. Bundle up warm and had a hot drink beside you as you read this tale of the Arctic cold.
  • (3/5)
    Dogsong is a powerful, coming of age adventure. Paulsen clearly depicts the conflict that Russel Susskit feels as he is seeking balance between the modern world and the traditional world. The reader is able to picture the barren, cold environment of the far north. The struggle to survive alone in this harsh environment is well detailed. The hunts are well documented and easily understood by readers with little or no experience with hunting. The story moves slowly as Russel tries to understand his place in the song. It bothered me that Paulsen chose to use the term Eskimo instead of Inuit.