--"Globe and Mail"
When Franklin Starlight is called to visit his father, he has mixed emotions. Raised by the old man he was entrusted to soon after his birth, Frank is haunted by the brief and troubling moments he has shared with his father, Eldon. Read more...
--"Globe and Mail"
When Franklin Starlight is called to visit his father, he has mixed emotions. Raised by the old man he was entrusted to soon after his birth, Frank is haunted by the brief and troubling moments he has shared with his father, Eldon. When he finally travels by horseback to town, he finds Eldon on the edge of death, decimated from years of drinking.
The two undertake difficult journey into the mountainous backcountry, in search of a place for Eldon to die and be buried in the warrior way. As they travel, Eldon tells his son the story of his own life--from an impoverished childhood to combat in the Korean War and his shell-shocked return. Through the fog of pain, Eldon relates to his son these desolate moments, as well as his life's fleeting but nonetheless crucial moments of happiness and hope, the sacrifices made in the name of love. And in telling his story, Eldon offers his son a world the boy has never seen, a history he has never known.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-03-09
- Reviewer: Staff
Canadian author and memoirist Wagamese (Indian Horse) has penned a complex, rugged, and moving father-son novel. Franklin Starlight, a 16-year-old Ojibway Indian, is summoned to the Canadian mill town of Parson’s Gap by his alcoholic father, Eldon Starlight, to discuss an important matter. Franklin goes reluctantly, since he has a dysfunctional and distant relationship with his dad. (Franklin was raised by a rancher identified only as “the old man.”) Eldon persuades Franklin to take him on a 40-mile journey to an isolated ridge to die (he suffers from a cirrhotic liver) so that he can be buried “in the warrior way.” Wagamese deftly weaves in the backstory as Eldon, racked with heartache and horror, relates different episodes from his past (when he’s lucid enough). Initially, Franklin is unsympathetic to his father’s plight, which seems to be caused by a lifetime of boozing and womanizing. However, as Eldon tells his tales, including that of his harrowing ordeal in the Korean War, which precipitated his chronic drinking, Franklin comes to see his father in a new light. Wagamese’s muscular prose and spare tone complement this gem of a narrative, which examines the bond between father and son. (May)