In the heart of the tranquil countryside, a young puppy leaves his home to eagerly follow his mother and master. But away from the safe haven of the farm, the puppy soon becomes lost and is left to struggle for survival in the wild. Suddenly, he must find food and a safe place to sleep, and outwit his competitor, the fox. The puppy becomes wild himself, trusting no human and furiously fighting the hunting dogs that enter his domain.
But one man is intrigued by the now-unruly dog and very slowly begins to gain his trust. Each day he visits the dog, bringing food and awakening memories of his distant domestic past. The lost relationship between man and dog is rebuilt in this sensitive and intelligent story about the true nature of trust and friendship.
Told from the perspective of an errant gray puppy, this lovely novel, published as Hunden in Sweden in 1986, is a quietly wrenching account of the life of a dog and his bond with an isolated woodsman in a relationship of mythical proportions. The narrative begins as a young pup follows his mother and their owner out into the woods and loses them in the snow. Frightened and alone, the pup takes refuge underneath the low branches of a spruce tree, and as the narrative continues, the snow melts, and life in the wilderness goes on, he embarks on the recognizably painful process of growing up. As Ekman skillfully weaves the evolution of the puppy into a grown dog together with the passing of the seasons, what becomes striking is the resonance between this lone dog's life cycle and the human experience. A bit of a slow starter, this beautifully written novel is brilliantly evocative and, with only a little patience on the part of the reader, evokes an atmosphere with a different tempo, where instinct and affinity with nature take over.