Medicine Walk by Richard WagameseMedicine Walk by Richard Wagamese

Medicine Walk

byRichard Wagamese

Hardcover | April 1, 2014

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By the celebrated author of Canada Reads Finalist Indian Horse, a stunning new novel that has all the timeless qualities of a classic, as it tells the universal story of a father/son struggle in a fresh, utterly memorable way, set in dramatic landscape of the BC Interior. For male and female readers equally, for readers of Joseph Boyden, Cormac McCarthy, Thomas King, Russell Banks and general literary.
      Franklin Starlight is called to visit his father, Eldon. He's sixteen years old and has had the most fleeting of relationships with the man. The rare moments they've shared haunt and trouble Frank, but he answers the call, a son's duty to a father. He finds Eldon decimated after years of drinking, dying of liver failure in a small town flophouse. Eldon asks his son to take him into the mountains, so he may be buried in the traditional Ojibway manner.
     What ensues is a journey through the rugged and beautiful backcountry, and a journey into the past, as the two men push forward to Eldon's end. From a poverty-stricken childhood, to the Korean War, and later the derelict houses of mill towns, Eldon relates both the desolate moments of his life and a time of redemption and love and in doing so offers Frank a history he has never known, the father he has never had, and a connection to himself he never expected.
     A novel about love, friendship, courage, and the idea that the land has within it powers of healing, Medicine Walk reveals the ultimate goodness of its characters and offers a deeply moving and redemptive conclusion.
     Wagamese's writing soars and his insight and compassion are matched by his gift of communicating these to the reader.
RICHARD WAGAMESE is one of Canada's foremost writers. He's been a newspaper columnist and reporter, radio and television broadcaster and producer, documentary producer, and the author of twelve previous novels, including Keeper'n Me and Indian Horse which was a recent Canada Reads Finalist. He is also the author of acclaimed memoirs, ...
Title:Medicine WalkFormat:HardcoverDimensions:256 pages, 8.5 × 5.7 × 1 inPublished:April 1, 2014Publisher:McClelland & StewartLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:077108918X

ISBN - 13:9780771089183

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from LOVE This book took me on a journey like no other. I found myself in love with the main characters and learned so much from them. I felt as if I was experiencing the story first hand with how descriptive and thoughtful every word was. It was recommended to me and I recommend it to everyone else.
Date published: 2018-02-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I thought I would hate this.... I was wrong Wow, I always have a hard time reading books that I am forced to In school but this story is just one I could not put down. Everyone can related in some ways dn it gives you a whole new perspective of some of the thing people you may not realize are going through
Date published: 2018-01-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Okay I'm somewhere on the fence with this novel... This is about Frank Starlight and his father, Eldon, who is dying (for all intents and purposes) of liver failure due to a lifetime of alcohol abuse. Frank is a relatively well-rounded young man, raised by someone not his father. He prefers a life living off the land and being alone; doesn't care much for school and doesn't care much for people. Until his father sends a letter asking for him to come and see him, he didn't know much about his family, either. Eldon asks Frank, a stranger, really, to take him out to the wilderness where he can die and be buried like his history dictates, etc. Frank obliges and they carry on this journey of tales and discovery while Eldon continues to die. The story is okay... I can't explain why it wasn't launched into a category of being better for me. It is softer language and writing, and the landscape described in the novel is very effective. This is certainly emotional, but the dialogue is written in such a way I found it distracting, like I was more focused on trying to imitate what their accents were in my head than focus on the actual narrative and storyline. Strange. I wouldn't discourage anyone from reading the book or others by Wagamese, but I doubt I'll try another of his if they're similar. I think reading Joseph Boyden has ruined me for a lot of others along this line!
Date published: 2017-08-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from amazing! Any story that Richard Wagamese writes needs to be read. He is probably the most gifted author I have encountered in a long time and Medicine Walk certainly didn't disappoint. This story captivated me right from the start with the language, dialogue, movement, energy, and scenery. It flowed smoothly, mirrored by the soft plodding of the boy and his horse, yet at times the characters' frustrations stumbled as the horse did over rocky terrain. A young Cree teenage boy takes his estranged and dying father into the deep mountainous country of British Columbia and listens to his story before burying him at the top of a cliff. His father's alcoholic past could have had a more positive outcome but he had little to rely on, except for a broken friendship. Wagamese's style includes twists and turns that don't reveal themselves until the time is right. As in his past stories, I didn't anticipate them and was stopped in my tracks a few times. This is a treasure and worth the read.
Date published: 2017-07-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Terrific I was very happy to have read this book
Date published: 2017-06-19
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A great novel about the last journey of Frank and Eldin The book is very historical to the point where one beleives it could be true
Date published: 2017-06-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from amazing amazing book by and amzing author. an aboriginal story original
Date published: 2017-05-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved this Truly and excellent novel. I recommend this book
Date published: 2017-03-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful Medicine Walk deals with the relationship between a son and an absent father, and focuses on the psychological damage of holding on to guilt, shame, and secrets. Both son and father are illustrated as two men doing what they can to survive emotional turmoil and a sense of loss, though painted in very different ways of coping. Wagamese describes the landscapes with incredible detail, highlights the oral tradition of Indigenous peoples, creates consistent characters and avoids the melodramatic with finesse. It takes time and commitment to read- the plot takes time to become wholly immersive- but the blanks filled when Eldon Starlight begins to open up to his son Frank are worth your patience.
Date published: 2017-03-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Good novel, but not as good as Indian Horse - that one just took my breath away. Still, this was a good read.
Date published: 2017-03-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Amazing journey of hope and healing Once again Wagamese's talent shines in this coming of age story. While the story is fraught with the pain of loss and struggle, the message is predominantly hopeful; that our stories shape who we are and hope triumphs in the end. It is a testament to humanity, even in the shape of a young boy. Wagamese also continues to celebrate the mysticism of nature and her spirit - it is a powerful force that we all need to respect and revere.
Date published: 2017-01-14
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Heart breaking and wordy A heart breaking but longer than necessary story of an aboriginal boy, the man who raised him and the man who should have. 3/5
Date published: 2017-01-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I really liked it. Had to read it for university and was surprised to find I liked it.
Date published: 2016-12-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Read Was bored and wanted something to read. I found this book at my dad's house. I finished this that same day. Very moving. A must read.
Date published: 2016-11-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from It's all we are in the end. Our stories. Canadian writer Richard Wagamese, born to Ojibway parents, is perhaps Canada's most profound author in authentically capturing and conveying the realities of Aboriginal life in Canada. The story is a brutal depiction of a young man having to come to terms with a father that abandoned him and yet expects so much from him. Richard Wagamese's breathtaking prose and skillful use of dialogue combine with noteworthy characters creates an unforgettable story! In the Acknowledgments, Richard Wagamese says: In the Ojibway world you go inward in order to express outward. That journey can be harrowing sometimes but it can also be the source of much joy, freedom, and light. There are many who have been there to share in my inward journey and without their light I may not have found the wherewithal and courage to brave the darkness and shadows. Suffice to say, the re-emergence has been amazing and this story was born out of long nights of soul searching and reflection. Excellent book! Thank you for writing this book!
Date published: 2016-05-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding! Richard Wagamese is like an exquisite painter but instead of paint he uses beautifully crafted words to create the most breath taking images imaginable. "There were coyotes in the field......Six of them. Cavorting. Celebrating moonlight. From where he stood leaning on the bottom half of the door he could see the huff of their breath. Clouds of it roiling then dissipating in the early morning air....and the kid thought of fog and the way it shrouded the land in the frosted wet of spring and autumn, the punch of a ridge or scarp or mountain behind it sudden as a bear....In the phosphorescent glow of the moon he thought he could see their eyes, dilating, peering hard at him with the ancient light of the wild in them..." Sixteen year old Frank Starlight takes a journey with his estranged father into the wilderness and into the past where he learns a history that he never knew. This is a coming of age story like no other. Mr. Wagamese has created characters so rich and detailed that they have become a part of me. This story has it all; sadness, anger, despair, human folly, courage and love. A masterfully told story that I can't wait to read again and again.
Date published: 2016-02-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Medicine walk Capitivating. Richard Wagamese tells of life's harsh realities. Filled with lessons in truth, courage and survival. Acceptance is hey. Thank you Richard
Date published: 2015-08-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible Amazing. Just amazing. I didn't just read this book, I felt it. It's cliché, but I couldn't put it down. You need to read this book. Right now.
Date published: 2015-07-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from MEDICINE Walk Much more than I expected the tradgedies of the past can have profound effects on the futures of so many that cross your path. Extremly well written Richard Wagamese knows how to hold your attention all the way from start to finish
Date published: 2015-07-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from a deeply moving tale I very much enjoyed Medicine Walk by Richard Wagamese. This is a story is about the survival of love; how it can be thwarted and twisted and suppressed and lost, yet still it lives, even if only an ember of its past. It is the story of 16 year old Franklin guiding his father Eldon, whom he has never really known, to his final resting place high in the Nechako region of British Columbia. Gradually and painfully Eldon reveals the story of his life and of Franklin's mother, truly a poignant tale. The story is also about the relationship that Franklin lives with his adoptive father and the unspoken yet felt quality that makes love real. The story paces well and the dialogue mostly speaks true. I loved the description of the land; it is so visual and accurate. For me it became almost haunting, in a good way. I think that Medicine Walk is an important book and thank Richard Wagamese for the journey.
Date published: 2015-05-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Medicine Walk It peaked my curiosity and therefore I could not put it down. It is another story of the lost souls one can only hope that in writing
Date published: 2015-04-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Medicine Walk Again another wonderful, insightful tale from Richard. Very touching story about opportunities lost and finding what can come from new opportunities being presented.
Date published: 2015-03-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Deeply moving. A story written with two voices and begs to be read aloud. A search for the truth, long buried by those who know it.
Date published: 2015-03-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Writing at its very best A story of love ,deep sorrow,and the healing comfort of Mother Nature. The author writes from his soul. Thank you for sharing this story.
Date published: 2015-03-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A rare self discovery For the first time in my life, book has consumed me enough to wake from a deep sleep for "one more page." each chapter and each page brought me closer to the characters and their visions. Wagamese was brave and vulnerable in this writing, which was like the emotion of a private journal. BC geography, native culture and the raw stories of resilience. Thank you richard. I have shared this with my students who will keep your stories alive!
Date published: 2015-03-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Absorbing Read Liked this book much better than I expected. Vivid sense of place and setting. Characters somewhat cliched but very sympathetic and I was drawn into the narrative very quick. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2015-02-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Richard Wagamese has done it again and I loved the journey. His writing is so descriptive and his characters are so memorable.
Date published: 2014-12-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Medicine walk Really enjoyed it.
Date published: 2014-10-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Medicine Walk I love this author and the stories he shares. A true master. Another must read.
Date published: 2014-10-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Medicine Walk Beautifully written. I loved every word.
Date published: 2014-06-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The medicine walk Excellent story! Thoughtful and written in a manner that pulls you into the character's world. Excellent description of the natural world.
Date published: 2014-06-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Medicine Walk As always this most amazing writer, Richard Wagamese, took me on a journey that opened my heart just a bit more. The descriptions of the land, the forests, and those who rode through it are some of the best I have ever read. Miigwetch.
Date published: 2014-04-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Medicine Walk Loved the book left me with a feeling of beauty and peace.
Date published: 2014-04-05

Editorial Reviews

“With Medicine Walk, Richard Wagamese has become a master. This brilliant novel is his heart song, his crowning achievement thus far.” – Joseph Boyden “In Medicine Walk, Wagamese manages the nuances of betrayal and redemption with uncommon artistry.  It is a breathtaking novel of sorrow, hope and polished steel.” – Thomas King “A deeply felt and profoundly moving novel, written in the kind of sure, clear prose that brings to mind the work of the great North American masters; Steinbeck among them. But Wagamese's voice and vision are also completely his own, as is the important and powerful story he has to tell.” – Jane Urquhart “Medicine Walk recounts the mythic journey of an estranged father and son who are searching for reconciliation and love. Richard Wagamese’s novel renders the Canadian wilderness with staggering insight and beauty.  The same can be said for his understanding of the fragility, wildness and resilience of the human heart. Magnificent.”  – Lisa Moore “Medicine Walk is a masterpiece, a work of art that explores human interconnectedness with a level of artistry so superb that the personal becomes eternal.” – National Post “A moving story…. Wagamese balances the novel’s spiritual and political subtexts with sly humour, sharp, believable dialogue and superb storytelling skills. Medicine Walk is a major accomplishment from an author who has become one of Canada’s best novelists.” – Toronto Star “This is very much a novel about the role of stories in our lives, those we tell ourselves about ourselves and those we agree to live by…. Wagamese understands that the stories we don’t tell are as important as the ones we do….But Medicine Walk is also testament to the redemptive power of love and compassion.” – Globe and Mail “One of the finest novels of the year…. Medicine Walk is not only a graceful book, it is a novel of grace, of coming to terms with hidden truths, of coming to know the secrets behind forbidding appearances, of finding the humanity within strangers.” – Vancouver Sun “An essential read…. Superbly written.” – Now Magazine (NNNN)