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One Story, One Song

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  509 ratings  ·  79 reviews
"The short pieces in One Story, One Song remind us of human beings' place in the world: We are a part of it, not masters of it. And by sharing our stories we share ourselves. By listening to others' stories, we share their lives and perhaps gain connections. One Story, One Song is all about connections, something we all need."
—Globe and Mail

In One Story, One Song, Richard
Hardcover, 216 pages
Published January 17th 2011 by Douglas McIntyre
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Average rating 4.37  · 
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 ·  509 ratings  ·  79 reviews

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Jul 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
It was an absolute pleasure to meet this man back in 2014.
Jan 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Richard Wagamese is an absolutely wonderful and amazing story teller. His stories detail his life as an Indigenous youth growing up in multiple foster homes, the various schools he went to, his escapes from that life to the wilderness or playing ball; to his alcohol and drug use and his ultimate recovery and then to his marriage to his partner Deb.

Do yourself a favour and read this book.

Recommended for everyone!
T.R. McKilligan
Dec 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I read this book for Book Club and was expecting a novel. Imagine my surprise when it was a biography in a collection of essays. Imagine my delightful surprise! Richard Wagamese is full of delightful surprises. Not the least of which is his honesty. In One Story, One Song, Mr. Wagamese tells his story, from the abuse he suffered as a child to his years as a homeless man imprisoned by a bottle to his recovery and triumph over his addictions to finding peace and love, with humour and sincerity. I ...more
Jan 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A gorgeous collection of essays from a master storyteller. I clung to his every word. I especially liked that he "has always liked crows". I knew I would like this book because the cover is a crow sillouette. I could relate to his "table rock" - I had one when I was 12. "How the Loon Got His Necklace" brought back childhood memories of when I saw the film at the band shell on a hot August night in Penticton. I liked the story of the tamarack who wouldn't shelter the chickadee and the pine that w ...more
Mar 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes good literature and impactful stories
This is the second book by Richard Wagamese that I have read. It too is a collection of 2-5 page stories/teachings by Richard based on his personal experiences. This book was just as amazing, if not more so, than One Native Life. The book is packed full of gems of wisdom and love and caring. His choice of language and words is quite incredible. You can see and feel the wind and the land and the pain, whatever he is writing about, as if you were there with him or were him. His stories and craft a ...more
Aug 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A collection of reflections by an author who has risen from the ashes. Richard touched bottom losing years of his life to alcoholism and drugs. Now, he wants to help those that are struggling in the swamp of self-hatred and lack of self-esteem that keeps people down. He speaks of a connection with the land and the natural world that is stronger than any drug that has helped him achieve balance. You learn about the spiritual teachings of First Americans and why it was important for him to re-conn ...more
I feel like Wagamese reached right into me and touched the most sensitive parts of my insides, while at the same time somehow setting me right atop a foundation so I felt like I could handle it.

A beautiful blend of borderland, dharma, fable and autobiography. I am so grateful for Wagamese for this book, it now takes a place of honour in the "revisits" area of my bookshelf.
Jun 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
i am in love with this man. His beauty shines through every page.
Dec 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars This essay collection had the unfortunate luck of being read so soon after his book essay collection, Embers. Embers was meditations and contemplations. They were reflections on his life. This collection is more peachy than Embers and feels more like a memoir sometimes. But really, it's probably best defined as social advocacy. He discusses things like what tribal governments should be focusing on and the long-term consequences of the reform schools First Nations people in Canada were ...more
Nov 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian, memoir
Fascinating, as is the usual with Richard Wagamese’s books. Indian Horse is still my favourite, but this one definitely comes second. Whenever I read his writing, I’m struck by strong urge to go outside. This time, I succumbed to it and just went out and stood in the crisp fall air, thinking. That experience and this book inspired me to do some writing, the only real inspiration I’ve had in months. I mimicked the style of this book, and truly enjoyed the insights it provided me with. The way he ...more
Apr 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book of short stories was perfect to be reading at this time. It is filled with stories of hope, optimism and inspiration. Wagamese often talks about the home that he and his wife live in and you can feel the calm and quiet coming from it. It took me a while to get into this book because I didn’t think I’d enjoy the memoir-like short stories. I’m so glad I completed it! ❤️
Dave Layzell
Jul 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
I am so glad I read this after finishing Wagamese’s Indian Horse. This series of introspective essays details the painful start Richard had in his youth and early adult life along with the courage and open-heartedness he developed as he wrestled both the demons of his personal past and the horrors of our treatment of native peoples. Reading this book I took lots of contemplative pauses and came to better understand who Wagamese is as a person and how positive and forward looking his message is f ...more
Sep 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
I'd wanted to know more about aboriginal culture and kind of just picked this one off the shelf. It's more about the author's personal life journey but has a lot of culture in it., especially about nature and animals and their symbolic meanings, which is very interesting. The author has a lot of wisdom about life based on nature, his roots and his personal experiences. He's learned more about life and how to treat people from his dog than from all the counselors, psychologists, psychyatrists, he ...more
Oct 08, 2013 rated it liked it
Ahhh - a restful walk through words. Mr. Wagamese's writing soothed me - transported me right to his side, when he took his walks along logging roads with his dog. He shared his story courageously and without judgement - shows he's truly done some healing over the hurt life dealt. Would love to meet him and spend about three hours over a coffee with him and his wife! ...more
Mar 19, 2011 rated it liked it
Very interesting little book on his spiritual journey to find a better life. Everybody has a story to tell and he has told his very well and he listened to other people tell theirs and always finds something worthwhile in them. We all part of the same humanity.
Cassandra Fay
I’m not sure that this particular book was for me, the beginning was very slow, but Richard Wagamese is a very imaginative man, he has a very unique way of writing and interpreting the world. I definitely plan on reading more of his work, Indian horse is next on my TBR.
Jun 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This compilation of essays touched my heart. What an inspiring and thoughtful read.
❀ Susan G
May 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-reads
Full review pending but so many great insights from the late Richard Wagamese about life, nature, survival, resilience and peace.
Pauline Clark
Aug 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Richard Wagamese.
Makes me sigh.
Makes me cry.
I've been savouring this book. Reading one little vignette at a time. I walk away reflecting. Understanding. Melancholic. (Yes, that's a word--I looked it up.)
Whether you want to understand a little more about Indigenous life, the harm done by residential schools, the way someone works at overcoming that harm or you just want to read some darned good writing, read this book. Read everything by Richard Wagamese you can get your hands on. I am.
So happy
Jan Andrews
Apr 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
I appreciate his respect for the land and kind, generous nature... he faced his childhood demons and became a better person
RyanAdam Wells
Dec 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Incredible!! Will be seeking out more of his work
Dec 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a must read, especially for Canadians! I think that everybody should read Wagamese at some point in their lives, and the earlier you do, the earlier your worldview will be shifted for the gentler and better.
Mar 13, 2017 added it
Thoughtful and driven by wonder, this is a special reading experience.

Near the end:
"Nowadays, I've realized that all I need to know about successful living and psychic health I can learn from my dog....Molly is wise...She lives entirely in the moment and she finds joy in everything. She eats regularly, takes a substantial nap every afternoon, drinks a lot of water, stretches before doing anything and is never afraid to express love or ask for what she needs. She's never too busy to listen, never
Michelle Caron
Nov 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
Wagamese has done it again. Reading his books are like a breath of fresh air. The perfect combination of raw and hopeful that keeps me coming back for more. I read this book in the northernmost part of Finland surrounded by the minimal sunlight and pure untouched nature. Wagamese speaks to the connection with the land and asks us to remember we are mere inhabitants. He emphasizes that so much about Native spirituality is akin to what it means to be human. Community. Communication. Acceptance. Em ...more
Dec 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Stories so good, you will be thinking about them a week later. Richard Wagamese's collection of short stories will leave you wanting more.

What I liked: His writing style is so simple and so sparse, but so full—it's like those Russian nesting dolls—you don't realize how many layers there are at first. Issues common to us all are covered in this book so sincerely it is heartbreaking at times.

What I didn't like: Nothing. This book is my new favourite book by my new favourite writer.

I give this boo
Madelyn Hall
Jul 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Bill McGann, Dave Aris, Kilmeny Hall, Vicki Medley
Wagamese came to me later in life, and left far too early. In this collection of essays, anecdotes, and memories, there is some repetition of themes, found later in Embers: One Ojibway's Meditations. However, the redundancy is a welcome reminder of how one can live one's life by paying attention, living with compassion and humour, and keeping things simple. Although I read it straight through, one of the beauties of the book is to be able to pick an essay at random, and savour the wisdom of Waga ...more
Pamela McDowell
Feb 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
The structure of this book was a refreshing change - more journal-like and reflective than stories. The entries are fairly brief, just enough to bite off and chew on for the rest of the day. I found most of them thought-provoking and sometimes heart-wrenching. Some ideas have stuck with me, like the belief that birds are the souls of children. I will watch chickadees and crows with a different eye, thanks to this book.
Aug 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wow! I can't get enough of this writer. I have always had a close bond with nature; wondering what rocks had "seen" through the ages, listening to lapping water like a symphony and really only relaxing when I am near trees and a body of water. This book shares many of my sensibilities including the trauma of childhood. I certainly didn't suffer like Wagamese did or like most Native Canadians, but just enough to have empathy and for his memoirs to have meaning for me. ...more
Jun 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is a collection of essays. It tells the story of the writer's life, his painful upbringing, the abuse he suffered, his travels, his addictions and his eventual healing. I like his writing , because each book contains little gems of wisdom that are inspiring and often touch me personally. The stories he tells in this book are a spiritual journey and embraces his profound love for nature. ...more
Joanne Mcleod
Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found such connection and a sense of wonder reading the compilation of stories in this book. There were many quotes of Richard Wagamese that I noted in my journal and brought out stories tucked away within myself. That to me marks the value of a book - finding a connection to our own stories through another’s, no matter how diverse the events or experiences may be. Definitely a book I will be keeping in my little library of special books which touched my heart as well as my mind.
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Richard Wagamese was one of Canada's foremost Native authors and storytellers. He worked as a professional writer since 1979. He was a newspaper columnist and reporter, radio and television broadcaster and producer, documentary producer and the author of twelve titles from major Canadian publishers.


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