It’s hard to believe it but I’ve completed my final Evergreen book for the year. Medicine Walk by Richard Wagamese is the story of Eldon and Franklin Starlight, a father and son with a complicated relationship to say the least. The premise of the story is pretty simple; Eldon has been an absentee father but now needs his son to take him on a final journey to go out like a warrior in the Ojibway tradition. Along the way he tells Franklin the story of his life, we also get flashbacks from Franklin’s point of view.
This was a slow novel, but I mean that in a good way. It was meditative. Despite the sometimes uncomfortable things that were happening it was actually kind of soothing. It felt like a fable. A big part of that is that the main characters are rarely referred to by name but simply as ‘the kid’ or ‘his father’ or ‘the old man’ (the man who raised Franklin, it would be kind of a spoiler if I told you his name). After a while they almost felt like archetypes rather than individual characters.
This is the third Wagamese novel I’ve read (he’s a popular choice for high school literature classes in these parts) and I’ve always admired his writing. He is a storyteller in the truest sense of the word.