The Friends of Meager Fortune

The Friends of Meager Fortune Growing up in a prominent lumber family in the Miramichi brothers Will and Owen Jameson know little of the world beyond their town and the great men who work the forest including their father But as

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  • Title: The Friends of Meager Fortune
  • Author: David Adams Richards
  • ISBN: 9780385660945
  • Page: 341
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Growing up in a prominent lumber family in the Miramichi, brothers Will and Owen Jameson know little of the world beyond their town and the great men who work the forest, including their father But as young men, the boys couldn t be different where seventeen year old Will is headstrong and rugged, able to hold his own in the woods or in a fight, Owen, three years hGrowing up in a prominent lumber family in the Miramichi, brothers Will and Owen Jameson know little of the world beyond their town and the great men who work the forest, including their father But as young men, the boys couldn t be different where seventeen year old Will is headstrong and rugged, able to hold his own in the woods or in a fight, Owen, three years his junior, is literary and sensitive What worries their mother Mary, however, is the prophecy told to her by a local woman upon Will s birth that her first born would be a powerful man and have much respect but his brother would be even greater, yet destroy the legacy by rashness, and the Jameson dynasty would not go beyond that second boy She tries to laugh it off, but the prophecy becomes a part of local legend and hangs over the heads of the boys like a dark cloud.When their father dies in a freak accident and the management of the Jameson tracts and company falters, Will, as the true inheritor of his father s shrewd mind and fists to match, quits school to take over He s a strong leader of men, but perhaps too strong at times, and dies while clearing a log jam during a run Reggie Glidden, Will s best friend and the Push of the Jameson team, takes Owen under his wing, searching for any small sign that the younger boy has his brother s qualities But Owen knows his limitations and, after his brother s death and then rejection by the girl of his dreams, Lula Brower, he joins the army and heads off to war hoping to get himself killed Instead, he returns a decorated war hero.Then he falls in love with the beautiful, childlike Camellia the wife of Reggie Glidden and soon Owen and Camellia find themselves watched on all sides, caught in the teeth of an entire town s gossip and hypocrisy despite the innocence of their relationship But for the community, it s as if taking Owen Jameson and therefore the whole Jameson family down a peg or two will give them control over their changing world Inexorably, Owen and Camellia are pulled into a chain of events that will end with death, disappearance, and a sensational trial.At the same time, realizing his destiny, Owen takes over the family business and begins what will become the greatest cut in New Brunswick history, his men setting up camp on the notoriously dangerous Good Friday Mountain The teamsters spend months in fierce ice and snow, daily pitting themselves against nature and risking their lives for scant reward, in the last moments before the coming of mechanization that will make them obsolete This heroic, brutal life is all Meager Fortune, the camp keeper, knows A good and innocent man, he shows unexpected resolution in the face of the betrayals of the worldly men around him.With The Friends of Meager Fortune, award winning author David Adams Richards continues his exploration of New Brunswick s Miramichi Valley, both the hard lives and experiences that emerge from that particular soil and the universal human matters that concern us all the work of the hands and the heart the nature of true greatness and true weakness the relentlessness of fate and the good and evil that men and women do It is a devastating portrait of a society, but it is also a brilliant commemoration of the passing of a world one that cements David Adams Richards place as the finest novelist at work in Canada today.

    One thought on “The Friends of Meager Fortune”

    1. My first exposure to David Adams Richards was “Mercy Among the Children”. He impressed me immediately as what I think of as a great storyteller. His novels are the kind you want to curl up in front of a fire with and read for hours at a time.“The Friends of Meager Fortune” elevated my respect for him to another level. It is arguably an epic work. He vividly and thoughtfully chronicles the harsh world of the New Brunswick lumber trade in the days when men were men and danger was the price [...]

    2. There are many things I find hard to express, and one of them is the effect that any novel by David Adams Richards is likely to have on me. He combines an Elizabethan sense of tragedy with a compassionate yet clear-sighted regard for the human soul. He captures all I know to be true of human beings: their self-deluded solipsism, their fierce love, their capacity for awe and spite and terror and regret and adoration and deceit and suffering and pride and beauty.This novel focuses on a lumber fami [...]

    3. Award winning, David Adams Richards is quickly becoming my favourite Canadian novelist.He is a great story teller with the gift of transporting the reader to the time and place where the books are set.He has the gift of drawing you into the lives of the hard and brave men and of the women they love. This book is set in the lumber camps of the Miramichi in New Brunswick, and the hard and dangerous lives of the men who work there. The time is just before and after WW2, when the work is done with s [...]

    4. I discovered this book and author when I was in New Brunswick a year or so ago. He's won numerous book awards, so I bought this one and loved it. Here is the description of the novel from . "Mary Jameson, the widow of a lumber magnate, hopes to stymie the prophecy she receives from a fortune-teller—that her oldest son will be powerful and her younger son will bring glory upon the family, but they will be the end of the family. When Will Jameson, the brash older brother, suffers a fatal logging [...]

    5. I haven't finished this book, and I doubt that I will. My wife picked it up cheap in a book shop that sells remainders, and read it. She said that she found the style difficult, and that she had to read each sentence twice. It's about a logging family in eastern Canada before and after the Second World War, and small town gossip and rumours. I picked it up for bedtime reading when I was too tired to read anything more demanding and found it too demanding. I too found I was having to read every s [...]

    6. This is the story of very brave, hardworking, death-defying men who were the lumbermen in Canada when all the work was done by men with horses and wooden sleds. It is a story with many interesting characters, women and men. And as in most stories there is some injustice that happens. I really liked this book and the author is fast becoming one of my favorites.

    7. Brilliant. If you are on a beach mid-July, you will feel like snow is melting in your boots, making your socks wet, slide down, bunch up you will kick at the sand not realizing it is your beloved small town roots you want to push awayr a moment.

    8. a good story to illuminate the history of the area. I"m from that area and enjoyed the descriptions of the people and their relationships

    9. 4 STARS"Growing up in a prominent lumber family in the Miramichi, brothers Will and Owen Jameson know little of the world beyond their town and the great men who work the forest, including their father. But as young men, the boys couldn’t be more different — where seventeen-year-old Will is headstrong and rugged, able to hold his own in the woods or in a fight, Owen, three years his junior, is literary and sensitive. What worries their mother Mary, however, is the prophecy told to her by a l [...]

    10. This novel, set in the forests of New Brunswick before such new-fangled technologies as buzz saws and trucks have revolutionized the logging industry, has a plot that moves right along and a moral perspective on the community under its lens; these things I liked. But the writing is over-dramatic and repetitive, and the characters are familiar stereotypes (the intellectual male misfit in a manly family; the woman so innocent she doesn't realize that her words and actions are being interpreted by [...]

    11. So far, definitely an interesting novel. I like it at this point and am hooked to see the rest unfold. In the first 22 pages, three deaths occurred, definitely leaving me astounded and curious. Owen is a character I find compelling and realistic, as I did Will Jameson. There seems to be a mystery behind Mary to me that I have yet to unfold. What is to happen is quite another mystery to me as well. Great start considering so many books are predictable these days. (more to add once I've read more) [...]

    12. It warms my heart that in the 21st Century someone still has the patience and talent to write like Thomas Hardy, lionizing the manual laborer and glorifying the unshakable decency of common people while gently exposing their foibles and "famines" as well.The long logging passages were a challenge, but they created the perfect milieu for this complex, careful story to unfold.I love the way each detail leads to a poignant place: the one-armed teamster awaiting the photographer to immortalize his c [...]

    13. This book started out almost too slow for me, but I persevered and am glad I did. The two brothers, Will and Owen, have grown up in a lumber family in New Brunswick and although very different, carry on the family business. There are many levels to this story - the traditional vs technological harvest of trees, the pull of the world vs the draw of family expectations, the role of rumour in the perception of events, the tangle that love makes. I especially enjoyed the vivid descriptions of horse- [...]

    14. A Mik'maq friend in New Brunswick recommended this author to me and I am slowly making my way through his oeuvre. I doubt I would've heard of David A. Richards otherwise but I'm glad he's been added to my list of authors worth reading. This novel covers the dying of the old style logging industry, in the pre-electric days when horses and mythic woodsmen made miracles happen in the ice, snow and cold. You can tell that Richards wanted to immortalize that way of life, and he has truly paid tribute [...]

    15. I live in New Brunswick and enjoyed the experience of working with draft horses in the woods. you can learn a lot about effective teamwork by working with a team of work-horses. This book deals with the evolution of the logging industy in our area as clear cutting with massive tree-harvesters replaces the selective cutting of working with horses. It was hard and dangerous work but people did it to survive. A interesting part of our history

    16. best book club book i have had to read for english class! the ending was pretty solid, and it can go two different ways depending on how you interpret it!! my only complaint is that it was not accurate time and date wise i understand it was a small east coast town, but seriously GET A TRUCK! that's all

    17. Beautifully written but leaves you with a sadness about how hard the loggers of old worked and how unappreciated their efforts seemed by city folk. Once more modern methods of logging moved in the loggers became like relics of the past. Made me feel more of an appreciation for our hardworking Aussie farmers. Bit of a tragic tale woven out of gossip and hearsay.

    18. A book that Andrew gave me from his collection of books he read for school. A gripping story that builds to the end. Unique writing style. Would like to read other books written by David Adams Richards.

    19. Liked this book for the portrayal of the men in the New Brunswick lumber camps in the 50's (after the second world war anyways) when horses were still being used. Richards portrayal of people, though, is scary with their truth built on the backs of rumours.

    20. Enjoyinhg so far. I have only read one novel of his previously, Mercy among the children, which I loved. Trying to get past the unrelenting tragedy that surrounds almost every character in the book though!

    21. It took a bit for me to get into this novel, and I almost put it down after 100 pages or so. I kept reading, since I recall enjoying Mercy Among the Children. I'm very glad I made the choice to continue.

    22. David Adams Richards(except for the name which I can never remember which of the 3 comes first) is one of my favourite authors. This is an excellent book, perhaps not quite as dark as some of the others and with a hint of John Irving in it. Worth the time.

    23. An excellent read! It made me think and to evaluate. Be prepared as your ideas of understanding and compassion may be altered somewhat.

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