The narrative structure of ''Wildlife'' most closely resembles that of a memoir, yet it lacks a memoir's breadth and scope. Most of the events take place within a three-day period....Although the story is refreshingly direct, Mr. Ford's writing here seems loose, even skimpy, when compared to the densely elegant prose of his earlier works....''Wildlife'' is a thin book rather than a rich one. It is shot through with nuance and minute observation involving four people who have moved from other places to this particular place. Yet these people seem to have no friends; they are present only to one another. Despite the Big Sky setting, this is a decidedly claustrophobic story. Its scenes are rendered almost exclusively inside bedrooms and kitchens and cars, often at night....For all the drama - fires, betrayals, confrontations - the events in ''Wildlife'' are curiously undramatic....The reader is left with the distinct impression - and the hope - that this story has no true end, that it will continue to flow from its author's imagination in infinite variation, its ever-widening circles adding to its dimension with each retelling. In time, it may even assume the weight of myth. -- New York Times
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Set in Montana, this precisely structured novel owes much to the style and subjects of Ford's praised short-story collection, Rock Springs . For a few days during the fall of 1960, 16-year-old Joe confronts his parents' frailties when his father loses his job and takes off to fight forest fires near the Canadian border while his mother begins an affair with an older man. Looking back on a not-so-simple love triangle from the perspective of adulthood, yet recalling his emotions as a sensitive, confused teenager, Joe's first-person narrative beautifully reveals the melancholy and pain of the spectacle he observed and was compelled to involve himself in--grown-ups who behave like children, children who are forced to act like adults--and displays Ford's remarkable ability to capture distinctive voices. While the complex relationships within families are a common theme in his work--along with the self-destructiveness of those whose lives and loves have gone bad, and the pressing need to live without illusions--his short, bittersweet fourth novel details how family strife is ``nature's way,'' and again proves Ford to be a gifted chronicler of the down-and-out. (June)
Narrated by son Joe, a teenager at the time of the events, this well-written tale takes place in 1960 Montana. Wealthy businessman Warren Miller plays golf with teaching pro Jerry Brinson at a private Great Falls country club. When Jerry loses his job at the club, Miller starts taking swimming lessons from Jerry's wife, Jeanette, at the YWCA. Jerry and Jeanette, a handsome, athletic couple in their late 30s, are both headed for midlife troubles. Seeking to prove his manhood, Jerry joins a firefighting crew battling a blaze in the nearby mountains. Left behind, Jeanette falls into bed with an eager Warren Miller. By the author of A Piece of My Heart (LJ 12/1/76), The Sportswriter , and Rock Springs, this excellent short novel, while gently and reflectively told, is ultimately a devastating account of one family's destruction. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/90.-- James B . Hemesath, Adams State Coll. Lib., Alamosa, Col.
Another attempt in the self-help genre to reduce the spiritual life to a few simple precepts and to eliminate from it all deep paradox, doubt, and question. In 1970, Prather, a Methodist minister, wrote a bestselling book of personal reflections, Notes to Myself. Since then, he has published a dozen works of popular religious psychology, including this, his latest, which patterns itself after its predecessor. Short, untitled paragraphs, separated by pairs and triplets of leafy graphics, succeed one another, grouped informally around unannounced themes: marriage, children, parents, time, death, fear, prayer. The central exhortation is to inner peace and a sense of unity with all things. The author might have achieved a humbler, less portentous tone if he had acknowledged the lineage of his ideas, for example, in 19th-century romanticism, which, in some of its expressions, believed along with Prather (and, for that matter, the Wizard of Oz) that everything we need to be we already are, if we could but see it. Prather wants to smooth a path that is, by nature, rocky. Nondenominational seekers of the spiritual depths will do better with the grandfather work of this genre, Aldous Huxley's The Perennial Philosophy.
From the Publisher
"Powerful and haunting." — Boston Globe
"Full of prose that makes the reader shiver...a rich and readable story, a genuine narrative.... It leaves a sense of hope, a conviction that life is worth living." — Chicago Sun-Times
"One of his generation's most eloquent voices." — Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"A Babe Ruth of novelists.... One of the finest curators of the great American living museum." — Washington Post Book World