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Medicine Walk

Written by: Richard Wagamese
Narrated by: Tom Stechschulte
Length: 8 hrs and 1 min
4.5 out of 5 stars (125 ratings)
Price: CDN$ 32.92
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Publisher's Summary

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 listeners 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 16 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 listener.

©2014 Richard Wagamese (P)2015 Recorded Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Reaches into your soul and grabs your heart

This was without doubt one of the most emotionally intense books I have ever read. Unapologetic, brutal in its honesty, and utterly real Medicine Walk will haunt your thoughts.
On the surface, it is the story of an alcoholic Indian (Wagamese uses this word), an Ojibway man called Eldon Starlight. There are few redeeming moments in Eldon's life. He's a dying drunk who never seemed to get the hang of living. We hear from his son, Franklin, snippets of hope destroyed by a drunk father. Somehow though, as the story deepens to its inevitable end, there is genuine repentance, the hope of forgiveness, and honest respect.
Medicine Walk is also the story of Canada's disenfranchised poor. Although Eldon and Franklin are Native, this is not a "blame the whites" book. Rather, it is about how pain, intolerance, and poverty all contribute to addiction.
I wouldn't say that I enjoyed this book, but o am very glad I read it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • P
  • 2019-01-08

fabulous find

It has been a long time since I found an author whose words captivated me so completely. I did not want to stop listening! Wagamese's prose is almost poetry. He paints pictures that are so vivid I am transported there instantly. His characters are real people...each with their flaws and redeeming features, but so real I feel I know them. He offers profound insights into how we can be...just be...and perhaps learn to be better. As hard as the story is to hear, I treasure it as one of my favorites, and will listen to it again and again.

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  • JB
  • 2019-01-03

Absolutely Beautiful

From the author’s words to the narrator’s cadence, this audio book was absolutely beautiful.

The feel of this story is akin to Cormack McCarthy but stands on its own two feet. I was effortlessly transported into each scene and will be recommending this book highly.

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"It's all we are in the end. Our stories."

With Medicine Walk, Richard Wagamese gives us a gift. It's honest, it's human, it's raw. In all honesty, this is a must-read.

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Amazing, enthralling, moving...to the very last word

I was captivated from the get go. The story was so moving and felt so real that it felt like it could have been a memoir. Mr. Stechschulte brought the story to life in every way. In fact I would listen to any book he narrated as he is a born story teller. Loved everything about this!

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Beautiful Story, Beautiful Narration

The narrator brought this story alive with his characterization. Stirred my emotions many times through!

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Loved this book

Interesting and informative book about the life of Father and son. Father is very badly damaged by life. Son has been raised by his grandfather in a very traditional way. They are together seeking a resting place for the father that is dying from liver damage after a life spent drinking. The writing is so sharp and descriptive you feel that you are there and should help in some way. Wonderful book.

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  • Kat
  • 2018-09-09

stunning<br />

This is an amazing work of fiction. Rich in fine tuned details, gritty and beautiful at the same time. The narrator is pitch perfect.

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My personal viewpoint!

loved it ,riveting! A sad but beautiful tale of the trama that can come from alcoholic addiction!

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loved this book.

Similar to American rust and the son. I really enjoy this style. I couldn't put it down.....🙂

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  • Craig
  • 2015-07-31

In the end we are nothing...

A man's circumstances, geography, vices, and guilt are background for this road trip (horse trip) story about redemption and forgiveness. It is a mid-20th-century Canadian Western that engagingly makes the point that sometimes humans can only rise as far as circumstance allows. The main characters, Franklin and Eldon Starlight are Native Canadians (First Peoples). Eldon, the father has tremendous guilt and psychic trauma resulting from the Korean War. Franklin, the son, is the unintended victim of his father's PTSD.

The story revolves around a request that the father makes to the son for a Warrior's Burial in the Canadian mountains. Franklin must face his own demons to honor his father's last request.

Medicine Walk has many redemptive and thought provoking qualities. I am still thinking about it several days after the listen. I recommend this book to those of us whom enjoy Native American stories and realistic fiction.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Davina Daly
  • 2016-06-08

wonderful story

I thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of this book and the presentation. it took me to another place and my emotional reactions were deep. it reminded me that we can never guess another's personal journey and we should have patience and kindness rather than judgement.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • shanon
  • 2017-11-22

Mr. Wagamese is a wordsmith.

So well written. An amazing account of the struggles of a boy, his father and his dad. Loved it.

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  • Sarah
  • 2017-10-09

Mesmerizing Narrative & Narration

This story is truly special and simply profound. Wagamese weaves a powerful story without any frills or verbosity, but full of easy grace and simple power. This story will leave you feeling healed, even if you weren’t aware you needed healing.

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  • R. Duncan
  • 2017-09-27

Thanks Richard Wagamese , your voice lives on

Beautiful descriptions of nature, the challenges of life and the power of story. A Canadian story. A universal story.

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  • Carolyn Ledwell
  • 2017-09-14

A so, so sad tale beautifully told....

I am an avid reader but have rarely experienced being in such beautiful rhythm with a story. Richard invites the reader to walk, to experience the emotions of Eldon and his son, Frank. A terrible beauty. Wow.

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  • howaussie
  • 2017-08-01

Engaging Story

Story starts quietly taking time to create well developed characters and an engaging plot. Narrator was great for this story.

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  • Aleta Karstad
  • 2017-05-21

An exquisite and haunting sadness

This is a life-changing book, written with honesty and courage. A native boy, raised with love and wisdom by his white stepfather, shares the last days of his birth father. The story of the father's life unfolds with the loss of mother and friend, followed by unexpressed grief and confusion, addiction, and shame, all woven throughout by the pen of Wagamese with the natural beauty of the mountains, and a deep love and understanding of the land.

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  • Susan
  • 2017-04-28

One of the Best I Have Listened to in a Long Time

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This is a terrific book and the reader is outstanding. I was held spellbound for the entire journey.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Medicine Walk?

Franklin is a beautifully developed character, as are the rest of the interesting and compelling characters.

Have you listened to any of Tom Stechschulte’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

This is one of Tom's best performances. Having said that, however, he is ALWAYS a great reader.

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  • Linda Rumpel
  • 2017-02-13

Awesome

I enjoyed this book immensely. Story was fantastic and narration spot on. I have recommended it to several people.