Books: The Wilding

…by Benjamin Percy.  In The Wilding, three generations of males enter a disappearing Oregon wilderness for one last outdoor weekend.  Echo Canyon, where Justin Cave and his father Paul have been hunting for many years, is about to be acquired and developed by encroaching suburbanites, so they want to bring young Graham along to see the place and to blood him into the manly ways of hunting and camping.  Of course the Caves have their issues.  Justin and Paul have been at odds over the elder’s domineering redneck simplicity for years, and Graham, a sixth-grader with early designs on writing computer software, is in dire need of some general wildness.  Yes, their male bonds are about to be tested, old wounds will be revisited.  Also, there’s a grizzly in the canyon.  A big one.

And so we have the canvas for Ben Percy’s debut novel.  Witness the dualities of nature and civilization, man and beast, known and unknowable.  It’s the kind of book that explores our evolving view of what was once the wilderness in precise, often stunning language.  The author’s talent for turning a phrase or metaphor and his obvious knowledge of the setting make for some first-rate reading. Continue reading