A dark, fantastical, multigenerational tale about a family whose patriarch is consumed by the hunt for the mythical, elusive Sasquatch he encountered in his youth. Eli Roebuck was nine years old when his mother walked off into the woods with "Mr. Krantz", a large, strange, hairy man who may or may not have been a Sasquatch. What Eli knows for certain is that his mother went willingly, leaving her only son behind. For the rest of his life, Eli is obsessed with the hunt for the bizarre creature his mother chose over him, and we watch it affect every relationship he has in his long life - with his father, with both of his wives, his children, grandchildren, and colleagues. We follow all of the Roebuck family members, witnessing through each of them the painful, isolating effects of Eli's maniacal hunt, and find that each Roebuck is battling a monster of his or her own, sometimes literally.
The magical world Shields has created is one of unicorns and lake monsters, ghosts and reincarnations, tricksters and hexes. At times charming, as when young Eli meets the eccentric, extraordinary Mr. Krantz, and downright horrifying at others, The Sasquatch Hunter's Almanac is boldly imaginative throughout and proves to be a devastatingly real portrait of the demons that we as human beings all face.
©2015 Sharma Shields (P)2015 Audible, Inc.
The Sasquatch Hunter's Almanac grabs the reader right from the start when Eli, the main character, meets Mr. Krantz, the titular sasquatch. It's a charming, funny, sad beginning.
The story progresses as Eli grows older and we see him, and his family, at different points in their oft-troubled lives. Eli's first encounter with Mr. Krantz, and the loss of his mother at a young age, creates a "butterfly effect" (or sasquatch effect) that defines his life and identity and consequently impacts his loved ones and shapes their lives too. It's all quite fascinating but it becomes a little depressing too. This is not a particularly fortunate family. Thankfully, Shields populates the book with more cryptozoological strangeness than Mr. Krantz and the narration by Tom Stechschulte is superb. There's a bit of social commentary in the mix as well.
I enjoyed the novel. The writing is extremely evocative and the characterizations memorable, but the worldview presented is rather melancholy and consequently, I found myself reluctant to go back to the book at times.
I'd give it 3.5 stars if I could. It's above average, and some readers/listeners might love it.
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