When 16-year-old Frank thinks of the word father, he imagines the old man who raised him. His biological father, Eldon, is an Ojibway man, “a stranger on the fringes of his life” and an alcoholic running from his past.
When Eldon, sickened by alcohol, calls and asks Frank to visit him, the boy reluctantly assents. On a journey they undertake through the British Columbia interior—magnificently rendered by Wagamese—Eldon shares his life story with his son. Frank begins to understand his father, and in understanding starts on the journey toward forgiveness.
This coming-of-age novel, which contains profanity and several sexually explicit scenes, gives readers poignant insights into the effects of abuse, alcoholism, and war. More important, it portrays redemptive choices and the healing power of shared stories. (McClelland and Stewart)