For Joshua
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For Joshua : An Ojibwe Father Teaches His Son

4.26 (322 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

"We may not relight the fires that used to burn in our villages, but we can carry the embers from those fires in our hearts and learn to light new fires in a new world."
Ojibwe tradition calls for fathers to walk their children through the world, sharing the ancient understanding "that we are all, animate and inanimate alike, living on the one pure breath with which the Creator gave life to the Universe." In this intimate series of letters to the six-year-old son from whom he was estranged, Richard Wagamese fulfills this traditional duty with grace and humility, describing his own path through life-separation from his family as a boy, substance abuse, incarceration, and ultimately the discovery of books and writing-and braiding this extraordinary story with the teachings of his people, in which animals were the teachers of human beings, until greed and a desire to control the more-than-human world led to anger, fear, and, eventually, profound alienation.
At once a deeply moving memoir and a fascinating elucidation of a rich indigenous cosmology, For Joshua is an unforgettable journey.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 240 pages
  • 140 x 216mm
  • Minneapolis, United States
  • English
  • 1571313893
  • 9781571313898

Review quote

"Richard Wagamese is a born storyteller."-Louise Erdrich



Praise for For Joshua



"[For Joshua] is revealing, open, and tragic. It is also a remarkably touching and well-written journey."-The Globe and Mail



"The late Richard Wagamese's For Joshua builds on the growing tradition of epistolary memoirs as a deeply spiritual letter to his son. In stark language, Wagamese crafts scenes of memory, ritual, and narrative tradition so vivid they often made me pause to reread them three or four times over. By drawing on his truths as an Ojibwe man, recovering alcoholic, and father, this memoir walks the reader through a life journey as an example to call us back to our deepest purpose: to live in unity and become who we already are." -Erin Pineda, 27th Letter Books



"For Joshua is a tender and insightful letter to an estranged son. Richard Wagamese writes to Joshua and for himself to try to understand his journey, the challenges of his life and his estrangement from his son. The subjugation of Wagamese's Indigenous heritage during his childhood and much of his adult life is heartbreaking. I'm not sure if Wagamese was able to repair his relationship with his son, but in publishing this For Joshua readers will be better off for having read it." -Jennifer Wood, East City Bookshop



"What a beautiful book . . . In this letter to his son, Wagamese writes of his heritage, his drinking, his writing, and his love for the land. He also learns how to live with himself and his feelings with the help of others, and to face his demons and explain this struggle to his son. As he writes, we all 'really have two choices in life: to live in peace or to live in conflict, in harmony or out of balance.'" -Annie Philbrick, Bank Square Books



"I hope that when Joshua does eventually read this book, he has the maturity to appreciate his father's act of bravery, and to learn from it. For the rest of us, For Joshua is a fascinating and moving portrayal of one man's search for his heritage, his true place in the world, and in the process, his discovery of himself."-Hamilton Spectator



"This well-written and perceptive book shows that it is possible for aboriginal people-for any person-to get back from there to here."-Quill & Quire



"Graceful and reverberating . . . A harrowing life story but also a ceremony, a gathering of traditional knowledge, and a love letter across the generations, For Joshua is a book we need, a book we can all treasure. Every page is infused with such tenderness and emotional intensity that I was shocked again and again with the thought: this is the true strength and reach and burden of love."-Warren Cariou, author of Lake of the Prairies



Praise for Indian Horse



"This flawless novel is an epic tragedy graced with tendrils of hope. . . . We are indebted to [Wagamese] for all he wrote, and especially for this book, a powerful fictional illumination of a Native North American life that echoes so many real ones." Minneapolis Star Tribune



"Indian Horse distills much of what Wagamese has been writing about for his whole career into a clearer and sharper liquor, both more bitter and more moving than he has managed in the past. He is such a master of empathy-of delineating the experience of time passing, of lessons being learned, of tragedies being endured-that what Saul discovers becomes something the reader learns, as well, shocking and alien, valuable and true."-Jane Smiley



"[A] chillingly beautiful book . . . Wagamese's novel depicts the tragedies of residential schools (although they were more like child labor camps than schools) in the 1960s to '70s through the life of Saul Indian Horse, a young First Nations boy who escapes the horrors of the school through his passion for hockey." Electric Literature



"A story that will long haunt all readers . . . Many indigenous authors have portrayed the horrific conditions endured by Native children in boarding schools in both the US and Canada throughout much of the twentieth century. But perhaps no author has written a novel with such raw, visceral emotion about the lifelong damage resulting from this institutionalization as Wagamese." Booklist (starred review)



"While Wagamese's fictionalized account is unflinching in its grim history of institutional cruelty, it also witnesses moments of human joy. . . . With Indian Horse, Wagamese has sneakily written one of the great works of sport literature, filled with the kind of poetry that can redeem individual lives despite the systems that would see them destroyed." Literary Hub



"Haunting and masterful . . . In spare, poetic language, Wagamese wrestles with trauma and its fallout, and charts the long, lonely walk to survival." Publishers Weekly



Praise for Medicine Walk



"Less written than painstakingly etched into something more permanent than paper . . . Wagamese bides his time, never rushing, calibrating each word so carefully that he never seems to waste a shot. . . . Though death saturates these pages, not a word here is lugubrious. Though revelations abound, there are no cheap surprises. . . . There's nothing plain about this plain-spoken book."-New York Times



"A slim, beautiful, heart-wrenching novel . . . Wagamese is a marvelous writer, and this is a treasure of a book."-Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Wagamese has penned a complex, rugged, and moving father-son novel. His muscular prose and spare tone complement this gem of a narrative."-Publishers Weekly (starred review)



"Wagamese is a keen observer, sketching places or people elegantly, economically, all while gracefully employing literary insight to deftly dissect blood ties lingering in fractured families. . . . A powerful novel of hard men in hard country, reminiscent of Jim Harrison's Legends of the Fall."-Kirkus
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About Richard Wagamese

Richard Wagamese (1955-2017) was one of Canada's foremost writers, and one of the leading indigenous writers in North America. The author of several acclaimed memoirs and more than a dozen novels, he won numerous awards and honors for his writing.
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Rating details

322 ratings
4.26 out of 5 stars
5 45% (144)
4 39% (125)
3 15% (47)
2 2% (5)
1 0% (1)
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