Medicine Walk

Medicine Walk

A Novel

Book - 2014
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"One of the finest novels of the year." ( Vancouver Sun ) By the celebrated author of Canada Reads finalist Indian Horse , this is an unforgettable journey of a father and son, 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 fiction.
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. 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.
Publisher: Toronto :, McClelland & Stewart,, ©2014.
ISBN: 9780771089213
9781571311153
9780771089183
Branch Call Number: FICTION WAG
Characteristics: 245 pages ; 22 cm.

Opinion

From Library Staff

A poignant and moving novel examining the complex relationship between a dying alcoholic father and his half-indigenous teenage son. This work by the late Richard Wagamese was the last novel the renowned Ojibwe author would publish.

List - Canada's First Authors
Jessica_c Apr 22, 2017

Wagamese died earlier this year, and this beautiful novel is a fitting tribute to a man who believed in the healing power of love, land, and the human condition's ability to triumph.

eBook edition also available through the Cloud Library resource (in our E-Library)

A journey with an estranged father through the wilderness proves to be a walk very much worth taking.


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sit_walk Jun 13, 2018

This is a riveting read from one of Canada's best writers (now sadly passed).

s
sgcf
May 14, 2018

This story of a First Nations teen-ager reconnecting with his estranged, alcoholic father felt authentic. It moves slowly, artfully, to revelation over the course of the entire novel. There’s a sense of spiritual connection with nature and “Indian” humanity. Wagamese’s theme of forgiveness and courage is lyrically told with rich imagery as he opens up indigenous ways to us. Beautiful. This is the third book of his I’ve read …what a loss he is to the writing world.

n
nuke_diver
Apr 12, 2018

I wanted to read Indian Horse but it is not available in the local library. So I decided to read this instead. While the topic is rather depressing the book is not. Wagamese's writing is excellent and descriptive. I hope I can read Indian Horse soon as it is considered by some to be a better read.

c
csrestall
Dec 06, 2017

I really enjoyed this novel. I read it for the Amnesty International Canada book club. It held my interest from the beginning to the end. It is about a boy who is coming to terms with his own past and his fathers history and life story, while taking his father on a journey to die. It deals with family issues, abuse, war, and alcoholism. Very worth while read.

t
TEENREVIEWBOARD
Oct 19, 2017

Medicine Walk follows the journey of a half-indigenous boy who, against the backdrop of Canadian wilderness, discovers the history on which his life is built on. As 16-year-old Frank sets out to fulfill his dying father’s last wish, he comes face to face with his father’s harrowing past. He learns about the experiences that drowned his father in alcohol, and consequently, led him down the path of self-destruction. Throughout the story, the clarity and depth of descriptions absorb the reader’s attention in all ways. Along with bringing to life the natural beauty of rural Canada, Wagamese has spun a heart touching tale that illustrates anguish, anger and regret through a father-son relationship. Medicine Walk is unique, entertaining, and definitely worth reading. 5/5 Stars
- @VirtueofReading of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library

t
thebritlass
Sep 21, 2017

Incredible prose and thought-provoking material.

m
mclarjh
Aug 17, 2017

Dull prose. Cliched characters. Melodramatic storytelling. Reads more like a Young Adult book, but too long and boring.

g
gingerbeer
Jun 08, 2017

Excellent book; insightful and heart wrenching!

t
tstadheim
May 26, 2017

A terrific book with a great story to tell.

w
wyenotgo
Apr 11, 2017

A magnificent piece of work. Wagamese succeeds in making us believe that despite all the failings arising from human frailty, despite all the betrayals of trust, broken promises, unfulfilled dreams, despite all of that and more, redemption is possible. Forgiveness may take a bit longer. In recounting the painful farewell between a sixteen-year-old and his miserable, alcoholic, dying father, a man he hardly knew, Wagamese traverses the full range of pain, recrimination, revelation, suffering that are part of the human condition. There is no room for joy here but there is a measure of acceptance and finally peace. There are many things to celebrate in this book, among them a skillful exploration of the aboriginal relationship with the natural world, joined with (and expressed through) eurocentric prose; a devastating account of close combat as it took place in the Korean War; and several loving, deeply personal descriptions of the western Canadian high country in all its glory.
A special note of thanks to Shelagh Rogers on the CBC for introducing me to the work of this remarkable writer, who regrettably passed away quite recently.

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Notices

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c
csrestall
Dec 06, 2017

Other: alcoholism

c
csrestall
Dec 06, 2017

Sexual Content: sexual scenes

c
csrestall
Dec 06, 2017

Violence: Domestic abuse and war

c
csrestall
Dec 06, 2017

Coarse Language: minor swears

s
shayshortt
Sep 16, 2015

Sexual Content: Prostitution

s
shayshortt
Sep 16, 2015

Violence: Domestic abuse War

s
shayshortt
Sep 16, 2015

Coarse Language: Occasional swearing.

s
shayshortt
Sep 16, 2015

Other: Substance abuse

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t
thebritlass
Sep 21, 2017

...we're a Great Mystery. Everything. Said the things they done, those old-time Indians, was all about learnin' to live with that mystery. Not solving it, not comin' to grips with it, not even tryin' to guess it out. Just bein' with it. I guess I wish I'd learned the secret to doing that.

s
shayshortt
Sep 16, 2015

"All’s I’m tryin’ to say is that we never had the time for learnin’ about how to get by out here. None of us did. White man things was what we needed to learn if we was gonna eat regular. Indian stuff just kinda got left behind on accounta we were busy gettin’ by in that world.”

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c
csrestall
Dec 06, 2017

csrestall thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Summary

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c
csrestall
Dec 06, 2017

The kid also known as Frank has always lived with the Old Man, and does not know much about where he comes from or his own story. His father (not the Old Man) calls on him to help him make a journey through the wilderness to a specific place where he would like to die. He is suffering from a failing liver due to alcoholism. Throughout the course of the journey Frank learns his history through the stories of his father, and also narrates some of his own childhood experiences. His father tells of his time as a child, the abuse of his mother, the death of his father (Frank's grandfather), the Vietnam war, meeting Frank's mother, and how she died. Frank tells of each time that he saw his father as a child and thier subsequent shattered relationship. He is able to forgive his father before he dies, and buries him before returning home.

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