This is 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 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, and agrees to bring along his son, Graham.
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.
Would you consider the audio edition of The Wilding to be better than the print version?
Yes. Absolutely. I don't know which was better, the story or the performance, but my insides were frozen in terror and suspense.
What did you like best about this story?
I don't think my body has ever physically reacted to a story like this. I had a hard time leaving my car to run into my house, because I was so immersed in this reality.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
IT MADE ME TREMBLE. Physically TREMBLE! My heart raced!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
I came to Percy's novel by way of his short story collection Refresh, Refresh which is quite honestly one of the best I've read. The novel itself seems to come out of a short in that collection, which I think is more suspenseful and uncluttered. Percy has imaginative and captivating prose and I'll always enjoy reading him for that sole quality but the novel seems unfocused and digressive in a way that tends to lose story momentum. For some reason I can see this chopped up into separate short stories that would read well but the characters and their arcs existing under one narrative roof just doesn't seem to cohere. That said, it's still a debut novel to be proud of and I really hope to see Mr. Percy continue to write books as I think he's got tons of talent.