I love to read and there’s nothing better than when I have my hands on a good book. I just finished a little gem that occupied my thoughts for days afterwards—I also really like this. The novel is called Ragged Company by Richard Wagamese. I’ve never read any of Wagamese’s books before and now that I have been introduced... Indian Horse is on deck.
Before I continue, here’s a quick overview of the novel as per the book jacket:
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.
I will add, this read was also kind of fun for me because I typically read the synopsis before I dig into a book and this time I didn’t so the unlikely friendships and the winning the lottery gracefully unfolded. Moving forward, I may opt to proceed blindly in this manner again because it was fun to watch a plot unfold without a previous window into the story line.
OK…back to why I liked the book. Firstly, I adore it when a novel is so beautifully written that I feel compelled to go back and reread a sentence or a paragraph and this was my experience throughout Ragged Company. I would have finished the book faster if I wasn’t doing so much rereading! Wagamese is one of the most beautiful writers I have ever read. But, it’s more than his choice of words and the way Wagamese strings the words together—I would like to see the world through Wagamese’s eyes.
Secondly, I was appreciative of Wagamese’s subject matter. Of late, my reading selection has been World War 2 dominated (all good books), buuuuutttt not only was nice to deviate from this period in history it was beneficial for me to see the world of homeless through a different lens. I have certainly walked away with an even greater compassion for those who live on the streets and the tragic circumstances that place them there. I am thankful for this and, thankful for the reminder that homelessness is not only a physical state…one can live in a home with a roof over their head and not be anchored.
The third reason I liked this book is because it provided me with another reminder and that being we all have the ability to help others and it made me want to create change in my life. This is a very IMPORTANT reminder.
Without a doubt Wagamese has been added to my list of fav authors and I look forward to reading more of his work. Do you have a book that kept you thinking for days after you finished it?
Activist, World traveller. Fan of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.