by Richard Wagamese
Milkweed Editions, 2015. 246 pgs. Fiction
Medicine Walk is the beautifully well written story of a young Indian man, called upon by his neglectful and disreputable father to accompany him on his last journey to find a burial place. The old man Franklin Starlight has lived with most of his life thinks he ought not to go, but "he's my dad" is reason enough for Franklin to put up with his father's drunken shiftlessness one more time. On their journey through the mountains where Eldon wishes for a warrior's burial he does not deserve, he finally explains to his son how and why he ruined his own life and left the boy to be raised by another. Wagamese's understated yet lyrical descriptions of the Canadian mountain country, his nuanced character development, and the deep melancholy of his storytelling make this a gem of a story in the tradition of Louise Erdrich and Frank Waters.