Salvation Of Yasch Siemens

The Salvation of Yasch Siemens by Armin Wiebe


Salvation Of Yasch Siemens

Shortlisted for both the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour and the Books in Canada Best First Novel Award
The Salvation of Yasch Siemens is an outrageous, comic ride through a community as memorable as any in Canadian literature.

… the greatness of this book takes it beyond the category of Mennonite literature, beyond the regional category of prairie literature, beyond the boundaries of Canadian literature. —Debra Martens

Born "on the wrong side of the double dike" in the mythical Mennonite village of Gutenthal, Yasch Siemens seems destined for a life as a hired hand in love with the wrong girl. But all of that changes when he meets Oata Needarp. Oata is determined to make Yasch hers, and it only takes some chokecherry wine and the fragrance of Oata's "Evening in Schanzenfeld" perfume to seal Yasch's fate. Shortlisted for both the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour and the Books in Canada Best First Book Award, The Salvation of Yasch Siemens is an outrageous, comic ride through Canadian literature’s most unforgettable community.

Now this enduring Canadian classic includes a loving preface from the author, Armin Wiebe, and an insightful new essay from Nathan Dueck. Together they rediscover the warmth and wit in the world of Gutenthal, a profound part of Canada’s literary landscape.

Advanced Praise

"Armin Wiebe draws us into the funny, sad world of Yasch, and into a culture hidden from most of the literary scene. Until now. This is a wonderful, out of kilter book." —Sandra Birdsell

"Armin Wiebe is a comic storyteller without equal in Canada today. Please hold your sides while reading." —Robert Kroetsch

Book Club Questions
  1. If you are unfamiliar with Mennonite culture, how does The Salvation of Yasch Seimens portray the ideologies and values of this group? If you are familiar with Mennonite culture, how does the book uphold or challenge your understanding of this group?
  2. Yasch’s dialect combines English, Plautdietsch or Flat German, and the rhythm of German sentence structures. How does this use of language and syntax impact your reading and understanding of the novel?
  3. In Douglas Reimer has described The Salvation of Yasch Siemens as an archetypal “quest for the father” novel. Do you agree with this assessment? Why or why not?
  4. How does the novel address sexuality and queerness? Is Yasch comfortable with his own sexuality? Explain.
  5. What is Yasch’s relationship to the church? Does he come across as a particularly pious character? Explain.
  6. What does it meant to find “salvation”? Where, exactly, does Yasch find his “salvation” in this novel? Is it through his testimony? Through his relationship with Oata? Or something else? Explain.
  7. Is The Salvation of Yasch Seimens a feminist book? Why or why not? What other prevalent themes do you see at work in the novel?
  8. Does Yasch change in any fundamental way from the beginning of the novel to the end? How so? Are there any pivotal character-altering moments in his life?
  9. The chapter titled “Mouse Lake” is new to this 2nd edition of The Salvation of Yasch Siemens. What does this chapter add to the narrative as a whole?
  10. This novel is told as a collection of episodic stories. What are some of the gaps you would like to see filled? Now that you have a sense of Armin Wiebe’s humour, how do you think these scenes might unfold?

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