By Peter Rock
(Mariner Books, Paperback, 9780156035521, 240pp.)
Publication Date: April 2010
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A riveting and unsettling novel about a girl and her father who live off the grid, in the shadows at the edge of civilization Athirteen-year-old girl and her father live in Forest Park, the enormous nature preserve in Portland,Oregon.
They inhabit an elaborate cave shelter, wash in a nearby creek, store perishables at the water’s edge, use a makeshift septic system, tend a garden, even keep a library of sorts.
Once a week, they go to the city to buy groceries, attend church, and otherwise merge with the civilized world. But one small mistake allows a backcountry jogger to discover them, which derails their entire existence, ultimately provoking a deeper flight.
In the tradition of Jon Krakauer’s Into theWild and Elizabeth Gilbert’s Last American Man, Peter Rock’s My Abandonment, inspired by a true story and told through the startlingly sincere voice of his young protagonist, Caroline, is an eerie and mesmerizing book of survival and hope, and a completely original novel of a remarkable and triumphant transformation.
PETER ROCK is the author of five previous novels, most recently My Abandonment, and a collection of stories, The Unsettling. He teaches writing at Reed College.
What is it about the human spirit? Even in the most emotionally and physically trying times, somehow, it is able to remain victorious. Author Susan Choi recommends three tales of struggle and, ultimately, of those who achieve great feats in the face of adversity. More at NPR.org
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- When the book opens, Caroline and Father are scavenging scrap metal from a junk yard. “ ‘You see, Caroline,’ Father says, ‘all the work I’m doing here for these people, organizing all these different things. This is how we are paying them back for what we’re taking’ ” (p. 4). Why is it important to Father to “pay back” for what they take? Is Father concerned with morality? Can you find other examples where he justifies an action that others might think is wrong? How does Caroline see Father’s actions? Does the way Caroline judges Father change over the course of the book?
ADVANCE PRAISE FORMY ABANDONMENT
Peter Rock’s My Abandonment is an electrically charged, bone-deep and tender tale of loss and partial redemption. Surreal, haunting, elegiac.” James Ellroy
This beautiful, strange novel takes us into the foreign country where those called homeless are at home, the city is wilderness, and the greater wilderness lies beyond. Fascinating and moving, it tells with great tenderness how human love goes wrong.”Ursula K. Le Guin