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Ragged Company

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  2,911 ratings  ·  445 reviews
Four chronically homeless people–Amelia One Sky, Timber, Double Dick and Digger–seek refuge in a warm movie theatre when a severe Arctic Front descends on the city. During what is supposed to be a one-time event, this temporary refuge transfixes them. They fall in love with this new world, and once the weather clears, continue their trips to the cinema. On one of these out ...more
Hardcover, 376 pages
Published August 12th 2008 by Doubleday Canada
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Average rating 4.32  · 
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 ·  2,911 ratings  ·  445 reviews

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This book Ragged Company is TRULY ONE OF MY ALL TIME FAVORITE FICTION BOOKS. I found every page delicious. As someone who has written short stories about homeless characters, who worked helping homeless and street people in Toronto for many years, and as a fiction writer in general, I just found this book so true, entertaining in a most respectful way and I wanted to shout it from the building (and tree) tops....READ THIS BOOK! Wonderfully written. Bravo Richard, for finding such an authentic vo ...more
Anna Luce
“We become eternal by being held in memory's loving arms.”

After I read Richard Wagamese's Medicine Walk, I was looking forward to reading more of his work. And Ragged Company did not disappoint. Similarly to Medicine Walk, which felt like a long conversation between a dying man and his son, Ragged Company presents its readers with a dialogue-heavy narrative. Amelia One Sky, Timber, Double Dick and Digger are the makeshift family at the heart of this novel. After enduring personal tragedies and
Janet Whitehead
Mar 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Rocked my world... First introduced to Richard as keynote speaker at the Sechelt Readers and Writers fair. Through spirit, humour, storytelling, wisdom, and even drumming, Richard had 500 people in tears as they bonded with his message of community,spirit, life, history, and Canada. I then met him at a coffee shop in my hometown and we have since become friends. He is making a difference in this world. Ragged Company was jaw dropping for both the storyline and the literary genius. I wondered how ...more
Natasha Penney
Jul 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: canlit
"Home is a place of history and love. It is a truth you carry with yourself. It's belonging, regardless. It's the place you never need to qualify or measure up, the place that you never have to fear losing. It's bred into the heart and germinated by sharing, spawned by community."

Richard Wagamese has created another breathtaking character-driven book about a search for home, and the peace that comes from learning that home really is a place you carry inside. By probing and organically unveiling
Second Reading

Just as magical and moving a read the second time around. Richard Wagamese is an amazing author and story teller. Ragged Company is an incredible story about what it means to be human (to be real and vulnerable connecting with other humans and the earth.) It is also a wonderful illustration of how to love others unconditionally for who they are and to "really" see them in all their perfection. I was moved to tears frequently. Wagamese also weaves a great deal of indigenous teaching
Sylvie Spraakman
Aug 20, 2013 rated it did not like it
Terrible book, one dimensional characters, and a saint of a middle class white man, how unoriginal! The homeless alcoholics speak and are spoken to like children throughout, but I'm pretty sure alcoholism and depression don't make a person child like. It's demeaning. If you want to feel "worldly" because you read a book from the point of view of a homeless person, go for it, but if you'd rather a realistic human perspective, don't read this, you'll be disappointed.
May 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: native-america
What is the meaning of home? Is it a roof, shelter from the rain, four walls and a bed? Is it a feeling of belonging, knowing that there are people who support you? Is it as simple as a physical place, or does it need to evoke some sense of emotional or spiritual well-being as well?

Ragged Company follows the story of four chronically homeless people. Home-less. Stop right there. We're not quite sure what a home is yet, we just know that these four people don't have it. Even if they huddle in the
Jul 12, 2018 added it
I’m having a hard time putting words to this book. Here’s the thing. Wagamese is the storyteller of all storytellers. That man found the inner narratives that shape people’s lives, so that you come to see how people are who they are as they came to life on his pages. That happened here, as it has in the other books. But, this story of four homeless folks who have a change in fortune, and reveal that money does not erase trauma, didn’t work for me. The characters were too archetypal, the grizzled ...more
Bruce Mackenzie
Aug 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, fiction
My one big problem with this book is that they only give me five stars to rate it. I consider it a seven. Double Dick, Digger, Timber and especially One For The Dead are going to live inside me for a very long time. Even Granite found a way to touch me. Rarely a book comes along that is the right book for the right time. It engages the mind, it touches the heart. It wrenches the gut. Absolutely powerfull.
❀ Susan G
Jul 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016-reads

“Some stories come your blood. They move beyond the telling or the showing and come to rest inside you. Invade you. Inhabit you. Like there was a secret crevice in your being that it took the tale to fill. That is what the movie was like”

Ragged Company by Richard Wagamese was written in 2009 preceding both Indian Horse and The Medicine Walk. The novel tells the stories of four homeless individuals, their street names – One For the Dead, Digger, Double Dick
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017, can-lit
This is my fourth Wagamese, and it has surpassed "Indian Medicine" as my favorite. It is also a book I probably would not have chosen to read had it not been written by one of my favorite authors and a selection of the CanadianContent bookclub here on Goodreads. Reading about a group of homeless people did not sound like something I was in the mood for during a Summer holiday weekend!

This book is about friendship, relationships, survival, overcoming one's past tragedies and mistakes, overcoming
Jul 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Another wonderful book. Made me feel and think deeply. The plot was so different from Keeper'N Me. A refreshing, heart-wrenching, and soul-warming book, on accounta Wagamese being an incredible storyteller. 😉
Gail Amendt
Apr 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The recent death of Richard Wagamese prompted me to read another of his books. Having previously read two of his most recent works, this time I chose one from earlier in his writing career. It is a true gem. It tells of four long time homeless people who have become like family to each other. During an extreme cold snap they seek warmth in a movie theatre and discover a love for film. They continue going to the movies daily, and befriend a former journalist who seeks escape in cinema. Then one o ...more
Danika at The Lesbrary
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-lesbian
I've actually been putting off marking this as read, because then I'd feel like I had to review it, at least to say why this was a 5 star read for me, and this is a book that I have no idea how to talk about succinctly. I'm still sitting with it. I think I'll do a video review, because I do have thoughts about it, but they're not well-formed. This is not a before and after story about homeless people winning the lottery (although it is). It's a story about survivance. About reaching out. About c ...more
Jun 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a rare example of the power and magic of a true storyteller. It is the story of four homeless people, how they ended up on the street and what keeps them there. It is a heartbreaking account of the demons they each face intercepted by the power of community, family and home.

Along the way a disillusioned journalist, Granite, as well as two other individuals join the group. It wasn’t hard to see how and why Granite was accepted into the group but I was troubled with how effortlessly the ot
Shannon White
Feb 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I truly enjoyed Ragged Company despite being a little skeptical on the subject - a crew of homeless people stumble upon a winning lottery ticket. Sounds a little hokey but rest assured it was not. Ragged Company is a stunning portrait of humanity with extremely thought provoking content. Written with grace and elegance, Wagamese does not disappoint. Quite frankly I am surprised that this book does not have more media buzz.
Vanessa Siemens
Sep 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book will sit with me for a long time- after reading it, I would rank it as one of my top five favourite books. Where to begin? It tells the story of beautiful, complicated individuals who are often overlooked by the world around them. It is a book about the pain we carry, the friendships we share and how home and community become places of healing for our brokenness. The writing is evocative, allowing the reader a picture into the lives of each character, seeing what has shaped them and ho ...more
Apr 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book ticks a lot of boxes for me. Interesting plot with a great cast of characters. Such a beautiful and haunting story that will stay with me for a long time. This is the third book I've read by this author and I will continue to read through all of his works.

As a strong supporter of our public library system, I was very touched by the author's personal story on how he benefited from the library system.
Aug 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I can't think of enough superlatives with which to bestow on this book. The characters will stay with me and I think when I watch movies, I will watch with the spirits of these characters. Four homeless people who have become friends to to a movie to escape the freezing cold winter. They meet a reporter who is at a cross roads of his life and though they have nothing in common, eventually, they become friends. Then a pack of cigarettes is found and inside it, there's a winning lottery ticket and ...more
Jan 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read this book right after finishing One Native Life and I can see little bits of the author in each of the characters he created in this book.

It tells of four friends living on the streets, who have only each other to rely on. They find a lottery ticket, and need help to cash in on their luck as they have no address and no identification. Throughout the book we learn about the details of each of their life stories and what ultimately brought them to the street. How each of them copes with th
Debs Taylor
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This took me to new places I have not explored before. The life of the homeless and street people; the choices they face and make; First Nation spirituality. And some themes that are never old. The need for community in all circumstances; the diverse stories that make up lives. It was compelling in a way I did not anticipate. The writing is beautiful and precise, and captures different voices. While the idea of splitting the narrative between characters is not new, it kept the narrative flowing ...more
Feb 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
A fierce and tender fairy tale, this book sends a strong message to people on both sides of the division. RW is familiar with the shadow worlds he depicts, and if this book is over the top at times, that does not undermine the power of his message.
Rather, it makes a surprisingly delightful read considering the heavy theme,and it is indicative of RW's special genius that can take us so deep with such a light touch.

these are first thoughts on finishing. full review pending
Irene Ferguson
Aug 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. While I did find some of the language very rough and somewhat abrasive, the impact lessened as I became absorbed into the characters and their stories. The author really makes you reflect on life and ones values and beliefs. I was particularly struck by the concept of "home", as well as the concept that time does not really exist. All there is is the here and now, our memories are what makes time exist. I would highly recommend this book.
Jul 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I can see why this was selected as the One Book One Community read for this year. Wagamese is a master storyteller and I especially appreciated the different voices used for each of the characters. I didn't even need to look at the name of the person speaking to know whose voice it was. An uplifting story of redemption without being pat and sappy.
Jul 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars.
Everyone at book club liked this a lot! I was the only one that said it was just ok, so feel free to take this review with a grain of salt.

So, here's what everyone else liked about it: they all felt like it was storytelling (as opposed to a standard novel) and they all loved that, they liked the way it made them reconsider their thoughts towards homeless people, and we had a great discussion about privelege, social supports, the essential unfairness of poverty, and the way capitalism makes us al
Marie Braz
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The writing is gorgeous, the characters are unforgettable and the story beautiful and heartbreaking all at once. I cannot wait to read more from this author.
Jun 26, 2020 marked it as not-for-me-now
wagamese is a heck of a writer and this comes from his own lived experience so RESPECT, but still, really not my cuppa.
Dec 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Touching, troubling. 100% recommend.
Aug 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Read this, you will be glad you did.
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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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“I gave them nothing back because all I knew was the vast amount they had taken from me, robbed me of, cheated me out of, all in the name of a God whose son bore the long hair none of us were allowed to wear any more.” 11 likes
“Time doesn’t exist. Pardon me? Time. It doesn’t exist. Did you know that? No. Sometimes it seems like it’s all that’s real. Like time is the only thing we have to keep things together. Well, it’s not. It’s not because it was a creation of our imagination when we believed we needed something to pin our lives on, some way to measure progress, some way to try to control change. Funny how we get so big in our britches sometimes, isn’t it? Yes. It is. But tell me more about this idea. Well, if time was real, it would leave some residue behind. Something tangible, some evidence of its passing. But it’s invisible, so there’s no residue. All there is, is now, this moment, this instance, this time. Then it’s gone. Like a firefly in the night. Winking out, becoming invisible again. I see that. But where does it go? Inside us. Time disappears inside us. It becomes real through memory, recollection, and feeling. Then, only then, can it last forever. When it becomes a part of us, a part of our spirit on its never-ending journey. Journey to where? To completion. You’re losing me. Don’t worry. You’ll come to understand it all too. When? In time.” 8 likes
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