"Every evening, Alice and five other people gather at the forest's edge, trying to call their dogs back from the feral pack they've joined. Alice's boyfriend had abandoned her dog there, in an act of anger and desperation. Most of the rest have similar tales of jealousy or vengeance enacted upon them through their dogs: Jamie is rebelling against his stepfather; Lily, who has suffered brain damage, is considered irresponsible." Becoming more deeply involved, Alice moves out to a cabin on land owned by Malcolm, one of the group, whose motives in
"Every evening, Alice and five other people gather at the forest's edge, trying to call their dogs back from the feral pack they've joined. Alice's boyfriend had abandoned her dog there, in an act of anger and desperation. Most of the rest have similar tales of jealousy or vengeance enacted upon them through their dogs: Jamie is rebelling against his stepfather; Lily, who has suffered brain damage, is considered irresponsible." Becoming more deeply involved, Alice moves out to a cabin on land owned by Malcolm, one of the group, whose motives in having her there are suspicious. As she falls in love with the wildlife biologist whose wolf has gained lead of the pack, she feels the tug between love's wild power and her desire to domesticate it. After a tragic accident, all members of the group must rethink their lives and find their places in an untamed world.
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 2005 Reed Business Information.
Exquisite novel by Humphreys (The Lost Garden, 2002, etc.) explores how humans are attracted to and fearful of the wildness they sense within themselves and those they love. Alice is the center of six people who share a strong and troubled bond. They gather evenings on the edge of the woods, trying to call their dogs home. Alice is present because her out-of-work boyfriend took her dog to the woods to join the pack of wild dogs. Jamie's hated stepfather also brought his dog. Walter's dog was banished because he growled at Walter's grandchild. Lily's parents set her dog free to join the feral because they think she's not responsible enough to take care of her dog, due to brain damage suffered when she was a child (she accidentally set a fire, then was badly burned saving her baby brother's life). Malcolm's dog ran away while he was out of town (a neighbor was supposed to be looking after him). A biologist who studies wolf packs is there, too, calling for an adopted wolf that's gone back to the wild and is leader of the pack. Occasionally, the six actually do glimpse the dogs. Sharing memories of the walks they took with their dogs, they grow increasingly close. After a bad night with her boyfriend, Alice moves into an abandoned cabin on Malcolm's land, and soon the biologist becomes her lover. Her elegiac second-person description of their affair is the emotional anchor of the story. The dog pack lives on rodents and rabbits, occasionally a sheep, causing farmers to call for a hunt on them. As pressure builds, everyone seems headed for trouble. Lily disappears, Malcolm becomes jealous of Alice's lover, Jamie and some high-school mates rob a gas station, the biologist seems to cool towardAlice. Mysterious, poetic, suspenseful, heartbreaking: magnificent fiction that evokes the complex connection between humans and the natural world in language that brings to mind Margaret Atwood's Surfacing.
Boston Sunday Globe
The world Humphreys describes in Wild Dogs is haunting.— Jodi Daynard
“A sensual, romantic, and brutally wise novel that will leave readers gasping. Every sentence Humphrey writes is a blow to the heart.”
Jodi Daynard - Boston Sunday Globe
“The world Humphreys describes in Wild Dogs is haunting.”