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The Ragman is a tale authored by Greg Gifune, a creative writer who illustrates a clear correlation between his literature and our actual life experiences. In this particular narrative, Gifune’s work revolves around the life of his main character Derrick and his friend Caleb, whose life gets stuck between his grandfathers tales about The Ragman, and what they come to experience later in life after their grandpa’s death.
At his young age, Derrick and his buddy sits in audience of his grandfathers tales on The Ragman, an old horrible fellow who wanders around his town with a horse carriage, asking people for newspapers, worn out rags, and all other useless items that the people might want to discard. The Grandfather advances in age and his tales gets more complex, to a situation where The Ragman develops into a malevolent phantom who butchers people to quench his thirst for souls of men.
Until the death of his Grandfather, Derrick and his buddy give audience to stories about Ragman to the extent that he (Ragman) becomes a part of them in mind due to their complexity, and eventually evolves as a real person. After the occurrence of local murders, Derrick and his friend starts getting convinced of the existence of Ragman among them.
A sequence of horrific murders occurs within two years in Massachusetts where the two young men lived. Findings of an investigation on the matter reveal that the killer was someone roaming along the seaboard. The endeavors of the two boys to ascertain whether it was The Ragman who was committing the murders are disrupted by ceasing of the killings. Although the two leads separated lives as they age on, the memories of tales about The Ragman and the murders continues to linger in their minds.
Thirty years down the line, Derrick’s marriage gets shakeups and his friend Caleb gets addicted to drugs. Although they haven’t met within that duration, an incident of murders occurs in New Hemisphere, which has exact resemblance to the ones that occurred thirty years ago. An attempt by Derrick to investigate the killings causes him to seek Caleb’s companionship, and what they find out after in the course of investigation suggests to them that the tales of Derrick’s Grandfather weren’t just hollow anyway.
A theme of melancholy in the first pages loads down the reader, and through the narrative, loads of uncertainty and unease assaults the reader with hollow, stark feelings of exclusion and seclusion as Derrick and Caleb embraces their life choices, and the ultimate option they will need to make. He also explores the distinctive degree of evil that environ us.
By use of characters, Gifune prompts the reader to explore a dichotomy of malevolence; our dread of it and our efforts to attain a balance in our lives. Derrick tries to make things good for himself, his wife, and Caleb. Caleb and Maggie gets off truck as Caleb gets weighed down by drugs, while Maggie gets swallowed up into sexual indulgence. They seem to jump off the pages, drawing the reader into the actual world, experiencing their happiness, grief, agony and suffering, with a sharp and unsettling prose. A depressing atmosphere is reflected to the reader through the final crescendo, Caleb smelling junkie, dark skies, mistreated body and cave shadows creates a climate of worry about all that every character encounters.