Author: Richard Wagamese
A Quality of Light by Richard Wagamese.
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 Indians, craving the spirituality and strength he knows are a part of aboriginal life, and sorely lacking in his own. Happily, the two boys meet, finding common ground and striking a deep bond through their “invention” of baseball and the warrior identities they bestow upon themselves. They promise to “keep this and every secret of my blood brother and to always be loyal and good and kind. Except in battle, ’cause that’s different.”
When a nasty racial incident puts Joshua in the hospital and Johnny in a detention center, Joshua begins to discover his native heritage. Johnny, incensed at the injustices endured not only by Joshua but by natives throughout North America, takes a militaristic stance in his fight for aboriginal rights and traditions. Each now has a different belief about what it means to be truly Indian, and their Friendship crumbles.
Then a violent hostage-taking brings them together many years later, and they finally recall the oath they took as boys. The tragic event allows each man to fully realize the Native spirit in the other.
Richard Wagamese (1955-2017), an Ojibway from the Wabaseemoong First Nation in northern Ontario, was recognized as one of Canada’s Foremost First Nations authors and story tellers. He authored fifteen books including his best selling memoirs One Native Life (2008) and One Story, One Song (2011), which received the George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature. His acclaimed novel Indian Horse (2012) was the 2013 People’s Choice winner in CBC’s Canada Reads competition. His final book, Embers (2016), a collection of Ojibway meditations, was shortlisted for a BC Book Prize.
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