Six people stand at the edge of the woods, hoping to lure back their dogs who, released by family members who think they know best, have banded together and run wild. Similarly, the humans who once owned them form an unlikely bond, sharing both the loss of their beloved pets and fear of the people who had the power to send them away. Paying tribute to Faulkner, Canadian novelist Humphreys (The Lost Garden; Afterimage) tells her story from multiple points of view. The narrator of the first half of the book is Alice, who moves out of her boyfriend's home after he condemns her dog to life in the wild. In some of the stronger passages, Alice addresses her new lover, a wildlife biologist, in the second person; also effective is the well-rendered voice of Lily, the "idiot" of the bunch, who suffered brain damage as a result of a childhood accident with fire. Other voices are less distinct, and the surprise revelation of the wildlife biologist's identity will strike some readers as contrived. Concerned with philosophical notions of the innate wildness of humans and the nature of love, the text is plagued by the excessive use of rhetorical, existential questions, though Humphreys poignantly captures the uneasy camaraderie that can arise among strangers. Agent, Frances Hanna. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
*Starred Review* Every evening six lonely people stand in a field facing deep woods and call for their dogs, beloved pets that were run off by parents, spouses, or lovers. The town's only big employer, a furniture factory, has closed, and the men are drinking too much and taking their anger out on their women, kids, and dogs. The resourceful canines have formed a pack and gone wild, but their six grieving and plaintive humans maintain their vigil nonetheless. There's sad and contemplative Alice, the novel's primary narrator; skateboarder Jamie, whose stepfather beats him; gentle, mentally deficient Lily; Malcolm, an eccentric, possibly dangerous recluse; Walter the hypochondriac;^B and a wolf specialist, with whom Alice falls in love. Told from various points of view, this evocative, unpredictable, and frightening story poetically parses the meaning of wildness. Doesn't the wild have its own order, rules, and demands? Isn't human life wild in its emotional chaos, violence, and anguish? Versatile and nervy Canadian novelist Humphreys, whose works include Afterimage (2001) and The Lost Garden (2002), delves into the deepest mysteries of existence with empathy, imagination, and an earthy and thrilling lyricism. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.