The Wilding

Benjamin Percy, Author
Benjamin Percy, Graywolf, $23 (272p) ISBN 978-1-55597-569-2
Compact Disc - 978-1-4417-6877-3
MP3 CD - 978-1-4417-6878-0
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-4417-6875-9
Compact Disc - 978-1-4417-6876-6
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-4417-6881-0
Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-55597-013-0
Book - 1 pages - 978-1-4417-6880-3
Paperback - 258 pages - 978-1-55597-596-8
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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. (Oct.)
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