short and sweet
Shelby Van Pelt (2022) Remarkably Bright Creatures [Audible] Marin Ireland and Michael Urie (narrators)
What a sweet story! I was a little hesitant about an octopus narrator, but Marcellus grew on me, and I looked forward to his interludes. Of course, the story wasn’t really about an octopus, but he was the connecting point between the characters. His observations about human behavior are comically accurate, and his touching unexpected friendship is a key plot element.
The story is about family and relationships and loss and redemption. Seemingly disparate lives intersect in unexpected and satisfying ways. I figured out how all the characters were interrelated long before the end, but I thoroughly enjoyed the journey.
Richard Wagamese (2015) Medicine Walk [audible] Tom Stechschulte (narrator)
Part redemption story, part homage to a neglected culture, and part exploration of nature’s healing power, Medicine Walk is a journey of personal discovery. Frank, the 16-year-old who never knew his mother and only vaguely knew his father was raised by an old man who tried to teach him the ways of the Ojibway people, even though he himself was white. Frank was half Native American through his father’s side and half white from his mother. Eldon, the father, lived his life running from mistakes and despair, drowning his sorrow in alcohol.
When the story opens, Frank is called upon to accompany Eldon on a final walk to the place where Eldon could die in peace and be buried according to the Ojibway Warrior tradition. The walk in the wilds of British Columbia offers Eldon the time to explain how he went from a strong, hardworking young man to a weak, dying man who lived with regrets. Frank is less than enthusiastic about what he considers excuses, but over the course of the trip, he begins to see the heartbreak that weighed down his father. In understanding, Frank found mercy for the failings of his father.
The language is beautiful and the narrator does all the characters justice. There are no bad characters, but rather realistic ones living with the consequences of bad decisions. In the end, there is acceptance of the past and forgiveness in the present.