Four chronically homeless people–Amelia One Sky, Timber, Double Dick and Digger–seek refuge in a warm movie theatre when a severe Arctic Front descends on the city. During what is supposed to be a one-time event, this temporary refuge transfixes them. They fall in love with this new world, and once the weather clears, continue their trips to the cinema. On one of these outings they meet Granite, a jaded and lonely journalist who has turned his back on writing “the same story over and over again” in favour of the escapist qualities of film, and an unlikely friendship is struck.
A found cigarette package (contents: some unsmoked cigarettes, three $20 bills, and a lottery ticket) changes the fortune of this struggling set. The ragged company discovers they have won $13.5 million, but none of them can claim the money for lack proper identification. Enlisting the help of Granite, their lives, and fortunes, become forever changed.
Ragged Company is a journey into both the future and the past. Richard Wagamese deftly explores the nature of the comforts these friends find in their ideas of “home,” as he reconnects them to their histories.
Richard Wagamese is an Ojibway from the Wabasseemoong First Nation in northwestern Ontario. After winning a National Newspaper Award for Column Writing, he published two novels in the 1990s: Keeper’n Me and A Quality of Light. His autobiographical book, For Joshua, was published in 2002 and his most recent novel, Dream Wheels, was published in 2006. He lives outside Kamloops, British Columbia.
“Wagamese writes with brutal clarity…. [and] finds alleviating balance through magical legend and poetic swells of sensate imagery.”
— The Globe and Mail
“[Ragged Company] has … melancholy tenderness and spiritual yearning. Wagamese evokes each character’s consciousness and history with compassion, deep understanding and a knowledge of street life.”
— Vancouver Sun