By Benjamin Percy
(Graywolf Press, Hardcover, 9781555975692, 288pp.)
Publication Date: September 28, 2010
Other Editions of This Title: Audio Cassette
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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.
Benjamin Percy is the author of The Language of Elk and Refresh, Refresh. He has been awarded the Plimpton Prize and a Whiting Writers' Award, and has been included in Best American Short Stories. He teaches at Iowa State University.
Not your father's eco-novel. In compelling, image-driven prose, Benjamin Percy confounds the old polarities about wilderness and development by sending three generations of men into a doomed canyon, and letting so much hell break loose we can't tell the heroes from the villains-which feels exactly right. This is a dark, sly, honest, pleasing, slip-under-your-skin-and-stay-there kind of a book.
Benjamin Percy's descriptive powers are so potent and evocative in this impressive debut that they sweep the reader out of his or her figurative armchair and into the Oregon wilderness, ready to fight to the death to preserve it.
-Helen Schulman, author of A Day at the Beach and P.S.
The Wilding is a compelling action narrative, universal in its dimensions while utterly grounded in specific particulars. Benjamin Percy is a stunning storyteller. His fearful wildernesses, both physical and psychic, kept me up through the night.
-William Kittredge, author of Hole in the Sky and The Willow Field
Benjamin Percy's The Wilding is a tour de force meditation and treatise on the nature of violence, the violence of nature, man in the wild, and the wild in man-cleverly disguised as a page-turning adventure. Not just a "must" read, but a need read, this book is timely, terrifying, terrific.
The Wilding is a virtuoso blend of beauty and violence, hope and despair, tough and touching, lust and terror, literary craft and genre plotting. Like James Dickey, Benjamin Percy drags his characters into the wilderness--into a canyon as black as a gaping mouth, where they struggle to stay alive and in control of what makes them human-but for a new generation of readers concerned with the vanishing West.
-Danielle Trussoni, author of Angelology and Falling Through the Earth
Full of bravery and bravado, and it fairly crackles with life. These stories mark the beginning of what is bound to be a long and brilliant career for Benjamin Percy.