by Dennis Danvers
3.6 6


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Wilderness 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Ausonius More than 1 year ago
Fact: since her puberty when growing up in the countryside, Alice White, now living in Richmond, Virginia, has taken the shape of a wolf every full moon. Her psychiatrist, Luther Adams, and her lover, Professor Erik Summers, are the only people in her adult life to whom Alice dares to reveal herself. They do not believe her until Debra, Erik's recently divorced wife, first beholds Alice turn into a wolf (and not attack her, though provoked) and Erik then sees a wolf fleeing his house. ***** Alice is very lonely, both as human and as occasional wolf. When she was a teen, a young man had tried to rape her. She involuntarily became the wolf and tore his throat out. But no one would believe her. Alice has strong sexual urges and regularly takes men for one-night stands. She is afraid, however, to love any man exclusively, lest he not believe her story and/or she tear him to pieces. All this changes when Erik moves into a house close to hers. ***** Dr Adams helps Alice White learn to control her shape changing by teaching her the art of self-hypnosis. ***** A brilliant geneticist friend convinces Erik that DNA research makes shape-shifting from one species to another plausible. Erik, once he accepts the facts, creates the hypothesis that lycanthropy is inherited. He then deduces that Alice has fled to Ontario where, Erik thinks, her shape-changing great aunt Ann conveniently lives next to the gigantic Algonquin Provincial Park, where several wolf packs live protected from mankind. ***** I refrain from telling more about the plot lest I spoil your reading pleasure, should you choose to open WILDERNESS. None of the characters is portrayed as having any religious beliefs whatsoever. All are this-worldly conditioned reflexes responding to their emotions, education and environment. ***** But there is provocative speculation about human identity. Is there a wolf lurking in everyman's psyche? Can we understand our need for human companionship better by studying identical twins (seen as cloned wholes in the novel) or by studying lovers (seen as bookends between a book, or as halves of a separated whole as in Plato's SYMPOSIUM) or some other relationship? ***** "What was Alice trying to understand about herself by imagining she was a wolf?" (Ch. 11). Both Dr Adams and Erik Summers had at first thought that Alice was imagining herself a wolf in order better to grasp something in her purely human but troubled soul. But grasp what? Later, both men accept that Alice is at times a real she-wolf and that she eventually develops the skill to abolish the wolf forever. Or to abolish the human and stay a wolf forever. Or to go back and forth at will between two species and their equally powerful needs. Read the 1991 book and see which option Alice choses. Or view the 1995 British movie of the same name and watch a different ending. -OOO-
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kurlytop More than 1 year ago
The characters in this book are well thought out, and the struggles that they go through are believable. The author doesn't use the same old tired silver-bullets, have to get bit to be 'infected' routine, which is refreshing.