A powerful debut novel set in a threatened western landscape, from the award-winning author of Refresh, Refresh
Echo Canyon is a disappearing pocket of wilderness outside of Bend, Oregon, and the site of conflicting memories for Justin Caves and his father, Paul. It's now slated for redevelopment as a golfing resort. When Paul suggests one last hunting trip, Justin accepts, hoping to get things right with his father this time, and agrees to bring his son, Graham, along.
As the weekend unfolds, Justin is pushed to the limit by the reckless taunting of his father, the physical demands of the terrain, and the menacing evidence of the hovering presence of bear. All the while, he remembers the promise he made to his skeptical wife: to keep their son safe.
Benjamin Percy, a writer whose work Dan Chaon called "bighearted and drunk and dangerous," shows his mastery of narrative suspense as the novel builds to its surprising climax. The Wilding shines unexpected light on our shifting relationship with nature and family in contemporary society.
Percy's excellent debut novel (after the collection Refresh, Refresh) digs into the ambiguous American attitude toward nature as it oscillates between Thoreau's romantic appreciation and sheer gothic horror. The plot concerns a hunting trip taken by Justin Caves and his sixth-grade son, Graham, with Justin's bullying father, Paul, a passionate outdoorsman in failing health who's determined to spend one last weekend in the Echo Canyon before real estate developer Bobby Fremont turns the sublime pocket of wilderness into a golfing resort. Justin, a high school English teacher, has hit an almost terminally rough patch in his marriage to Karen, who, while the boys camp, contemplates an affair with Bobby, though she may have bigger problems with wounded Iraq war vet Brian, a case study in creepy stalker. The men, meanwhile, are being tracked by a beast and must contend with a vengeful roughneck roaming the woods. A taut plot and cast of deeply flawed characters Justin is a masterwork of pitiable wretchedness will keep readers rapt as peril descends and split-second decisions come to have lifelong repercussions. It's as close as you can get to a contemporary Deliverance.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Story good, but...
Great story, kept me captivated. Some pretty amateurish writing from time to time, like something a lit major would write to impress a prof. That wouldn't be so bad if this were just a formula thriller, but Perry clearly has literary ambitions. Maybe he just needs a better editor to help him get there.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and could barely put it down. I had never read anything by this author before but am going to buy his previous book "refresh refresh" as soon as I am finished this review !
Loved the way the book was written and would highly recommend this book to all and sundry ......