From the beloved, bestselling author of Indian Horse and Medicine Walk, Richard Wagamese's novel is a moving story of friendship, loyalty, compassion, and justice.
Joshua Kane, an Ojibway, has lived since infancy with his white adoptive parents. Johnny Gebhardt is white, and from a young age has had a fascination with Indigenous culture, craving the spirituality and strength he knows are a part of a life sorely lacking in his own. Happily, the two boys meet and form a deep bond through their "invention" of baseball, the warrior identities they bestow upon themselves, and their promise to always be loyal and good and kind.
When a nasty racial incident puts Joshua in the hospital and Johnny in a detention centre, Joshua begins to discover his heritage. Johnny, incensed at the injustices endured by Joshua and Indigenous people throughout North America, takes a militaristic stance in his fight for native rights and traditions. Each now has a disparate belief about what it means to be truly native, and their friendship dissolves.
A violent hostage-talking brings them together many years later, and they recall the oath they took as boys. This tragic event allows each man to fully realize the true spirit in the other.
About the author
Richard Wagamese (1955–2017), an Ojibway from the Wabaseemoong First Nation in northwestern Ontario, was recognized as one of Canada's foremost First Nations authors and storytellers. His debut novel, Keeper 'n Me, came out in 1994 and won the Alberta Writers Guild's Best Novel Award. In 1991, he became the first Indigenous writer to win a National Newspaper Award for column writing. He twice won the Native American Press Association Award for his journalism and received the George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature for his 2011 memoir One Story, One Song. In 2012, he was honoured with the Aboriginal Achievement Award for Media and Communications, and in 2013 he received the Canada Council for the Arts Molson Prize. In 2015, he won the Matt Cohen Award, a recognition given out by the Writers' Trust of Canada that honours writers who have dedicated their entire professional lives to the pursuit of writing. In total, he authored fifteen books including Indian Horse (2012), the 2013 People's Choice winner in CBC's Canada Reads competition, and his final book, a collection of Ojibway meditations, Embers (2016), received the Bill Duthie Booksellers' Choice Award.