Tuesday, 6 October 2020

Starlight

Finished October 1
Starlight by Richard Wagamese

This novel was left unfinished when Wagamese died in 2017. Starlight is the last name of one of the main characters in the book, Frank Starlight. The book opens with him as a young man at the funeral of the man who raised him. He intends to leave the remote farm and explore the world, but as he gets to the main road, he stops and considers and turns around for home.
The book then jumps ahead a few years. Frank has found a passion in photography, growing close to the wild animals that share his area of the world and finding a way to share intense moments of their being through his photography. He lives a bachelor life on the farm, with his hired man Eugene Roth. They both work hard, keeping the farm and woodlot in good form and raising cattle.
Emmy Strong has had a tough life and her choices haven't always been good ones. Lately she's been living with Jeff Cadotte, a man who treats her as a possession he can do with as he will. As her part of the book begins, he and one of his friends Anderson are sleeping off a drunken night gambling. She aims to take some money from him, his truck and leave to escape what she fears will by the end of her. She also fears for her daughter Winnie, now nine, as she sees how Cadotte is starting to look at her. Her departure doesn't go well, and she is now on the run, and Cadotte is a man who believes strong in revenge and retribution, not recognizing it is his actions that have led to hers.
When Emmy's journey leads her to the town near Frank's farm, and she takes one chance too many, they enter each other's lives in an interesting way, Frank remembering the man that took him in when he didn't know how to live his life.
This is a story about how important our connection to nature is, how we can use nature to connect to our truest selves and find our way in life. It is also a love story on many levels. Frank is a very peaceful man, a man who knows his world, but is still uncomfortable with the fame his photographs have brought him. This is definitely a book that offers comfort, and the editors have offered some insight into the ending that Wagamese intended for this story.

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