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The Wilding

by

The Wilding Cover

 

Awards

Synopses & Reviews

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Publisher Comments:

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. Its 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.

Review:

"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.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)

Review:

"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." Antonya Nelson

Review:

Percy skillfully limns the psychic wildernesses of his characters.... The Wilding seems a bit overambitious, but, even so, it draws readers in and holds them in its grasp." Booklist

Review:

“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 lose 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.” Pam Houston

Review:

“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.

Review:

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

Synopsis:

When Paul suggests one last hunting trip to Echo Canyon, his son Justin accepts, hoping to get things right with his father, and he agrees to bring his own 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.

Synopsis:

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. Its 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.

Synopsis:

A canyon earmarked for development as a golf resort. One last hunting trip in a vanishing wilderness. A grandfather, a son, and a grandson—plus one angry bear. Over the course of the weekend, each man will change in sharply contrasting ways.

About the Author

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.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 5 comments:

merrick, March 4, 2011 (view all comments by merrick)
Benjamin Percy set his first novel, The Wilding, in modern-day central Oregon, where developers turn wilderness into golf resort developments. Who knows what message, if any, the author intended. My take? It’s a rumination about the taming of man and nature wrapped in a pretty good adventure story reminiscent of Deliverence.

Justin Cave is a schoolteacher and domesticated husband. Although Justin married the love of his young life, sexual passion is in the rear view mirror with nothing on the horizon except more years of raising their 12-year-old son, Graham. Justin’s dad is a fearless man who works outdoors, maintains his hunting skills, and can butcher venison steaks. Justin, on the other hand, grades papers and can’t even master grilling, the last vestige of manliness in suburbia.

A subplot involves a marine, damaged from military service in Iraq, who becomes obsessed with Justin’s fit wife Karen. He, too, is inept around modern women. But never mind him.

Justin, his father, and Graham venture off to Echo Canyon to enjoy its last days before the bulldozers attack it. On the trip, the men confront life-threatening challenges. Will the stubborn old man save the day or get them killed? What’s a worse fate for Justin: death or getting pussy-whipped for not handling his son as would Karen? Can there be one last grizzly bear in Oregon? If they do survive, how will it change Justin’s standing with his loved ones. And what happened to Boo, the dog?

The Wilding got me thinking about societal changes over the past couple of generations. Most of us sit with our computers. Except for sports, most men do not confront physical challenges. Kids, like Graham, start thumbing their mobile video games at an early age and many don’t bother with sports, anymore. Fewer, still, learn the manly arts of shooting or hunting. Why bother with the physical world? The online world provides for our needs -- and faster -- so we can return to our online addictions, whether they be Facebook, Huffington Post, or ESPN. Is this evolution or devolution?

Thinking about that makes me want to end the post and go outside to the land of fragrant junipers, rocky canyons, and cold, rushing rivers depicted so accurately and vividly by Benjamin Percy in The Wilding.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Teresa Borden, January 6, 2011 (view all comments by Teresa Borden)
I was captivated by this story, though initially bewildered by the different characters' points of view--had to go back and re-read a couple of times to put them into perspective in terms of how they connected with each other. The father/son relationships are deeply entwined with the amazingly portrayed sense of place, the raw wilderness, its beauty coexisting with a lurking menace.
The ending felt wrong, though. As if the writer had spent so much time getting everything else just right and felt he had to grind out a conclusion, put an ending to the story just to finish it, rather than take the time to make it a beautifully perfect and fitting ending to the story. Still, it's well worth reading and kept me up late several nights in a row.
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Marissa Landrigan, January 2, 2011 (view all comments by Marissa Landrigan)
A remarkable first novel from one of my favorite-ever short story writers. Complete, well-rounded, compelling in emotional depth and a larger cultural drama.
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View all 5 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9781555975692
Author:
Percy, Benjamin
Publisher:
Graywolf Press
Author:
jamin
Author:
Percy, Ben
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20100931
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
9 x 5 in 1 lb

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The Wilding New Hardcover
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$23.00 In Stock
Product details 288 pages Graywolf Press - English 9781555975692 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "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.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , Percy skillfully limns the psychic wildernesses of his characters.... The Wilding seems a bit overambitious, but, even so, it draws readers in and holds them in its grasp."
"Review" by , “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 lose 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.”
"Review" by , “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.”
"Review" by , 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.”
"Synopsis" by , When Paul suggests one last hunting trip to Echo Canyon, his son Justin accepts, hoping to get things right with his father, and he agrees to bring his own 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.
"Synopsis" by ,
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. Its 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.

"Synopsis" by ,

A canyon earmarked for development as a golf resort. One last hunting trip in a vanishing wilderness. A grandfather, a son, and a grandson—plus one angry bear. Over the course of the weekend, each man will change in sharply contrasting ways.

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