This week we’re taking a closer look at Powell’s Pick of the Month The Wild Hunt by Emma Seckel.
Every summer, my extended family and I rent houses in a small town along the Oregon coast. For a week, we take long walks along the beach, spend afternoons cooking elaborate meals, play Fascination in the arcade one town over, and stay up late, talking about nothing and everything over a dwindling bonfire.
It’s great, but it’s also a lot (is a family vacation ever really a vacation?). This year, when I needed a moment of quiet, I took my copy of The Wild Hunt
by Emma Seckel out to an Adirondack chair, curled up with a glass of wine or agua fresca or La Croix (depending on the night), and settled back into the dramas of a remote Scottish island, only occasionally glancing up at the view of the dunes and once catching sight of an elk buck wandering through the reed grass.
I took my copy of The Wild Hunt by Emma Seckel out to an Adirondack chair, curled up with a glass of wine or agua fresca or La Croix (depending on the night), and settled back into the dramas of a remote Scottish island
In so many ways, The Wild Hunt
is my platonic ideal of a book: set on a (mildly creepy) remote island with a community brimming with secrets; part ghost story, part love story; atmospheric and haunting and gorgeous. I had a feeling that the book’s gothic moodiness would pair perfectly with the Oregon coast’s trademark moodiness, and I was correct.
The remote island where Emma Seckel’s debut is set is an island heavy with absence in the years immediately following WWII. So many of their boys, as well as some of their women, left and never returned. The islanders that remain are haunted by these losses, as well as the spooky, threatening, crow-like creatures, the sluagh (pronounced sloo-ah
), that come to the island every October. Creatures who some islanders believe are inhabited by the souls of the dead.
Spooky? Yes, absolutely, in a *chef’s kiss* kind of way.
Much of the book centers around the search for a young boy who disappears — a feat on such a small island with so few places to hide. Along the way, relationships deepen while others shatter, the sluagh’s population grows and becomes more aggressive, the ghosts of long-lost loved ones appear and then vanish, and some goats just hang out, being good goats.
The Wild Hunt
is a hauntingly beautiful and beautifully haunting novel about love and loss, what we owe to one another, and how we might rebuild a meaningful life in the wake of unfathomable loss.