A Novel

Book - 2012
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Thirty years after the Civil War's Battle of the Wilderness left him maimed, Abel Truman has found his way to the edge of the continent, the rugged, majestic coast of Washington State, where he lives alone in a driftwood shack with his beloved dog. Wilderness is the story of Abel, now an old and ailing man, and his heroic final journey over the snowbound Olympic Mountains. It's a quest he has little hope of completing but still must undertake to settle matters of the heart that predate even the horrors of the war.

As Abel makes his way into the foothills, the violence he endures at the hands of two thugs after his dog is cross cut with his memories of the horrors of the war, the friends he lost, and the savagery he took part in and witnessed. And yet, darkness is cut by light, especially in the people who have touched his life-from Jane Dao-Ming Poole, the daughter of murdered Chinese immigrants, to Hypatia, an escaped slave who nursed him back to life, and finally the unbearable memory of the wife andchild he lost as a young man. Haunted by tragedy, loss, and unspeakable brutality, Abel has somehow managed to hold on to his humanity, finding weigh stations of kindness along his tortured and ultimately redemptive path.

In its contrasts of light and dark, wild and tame, brutal and tender, and its attempts to reconcile a horrific war with the great evil it ended, Wilderness not only tells the moving tale of an unforgettable character, but a story about who we are as human beings, a people, and a nation. Lance Weller's immensely impressive debut immediately places him among our most talented writers.

Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury, 2012.
ISBN: 9781608199372
Characteristics: 293 pages ;,25 cm.


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Sep 09, 2013

I enjoyed this book very much ... such descriptive writing, it puts you right there in the beautiful Pacific Northwest! Maybe a bit too graphic in the war scenes. I did go back to the beginning and read the Prologue again after finishing the book. It did help put all the pieces together. All in all a very good first novel.

Aug 21, 2013

I certainly agree - this is an outstanding first novel . However , Lance Weller - it surpasses "Cold Mountain" and "Andersonville" in suffering and gore . What noble characters , stunning descriptive narrative - absolutely , I would read it again

Apr 02, 2013

A new take on the Civil War and it's personal significance to one man. I liked that the setting includes the Northwest, partly because that is my home but also because it speaks of the vast impact long ago events still have on people and places.

raydat51 Feb 15, 2013

A fine and haunting story of a Civil War veteran, a man whose PTSD returns him to the horrors of the Wilderness repeatedly, who embarks upon an odyssey to try to return east to the life he led. He has fled to the coast of Oregon and lived as a hermit for over thirty years. The people he meets as he travels represent the best and worst of humanity and are all memorable. Sad, and absolutely worth the reading, with a lasting impression. I would read it again.

Cdnbookworm Oct 21, 2012

This debut novel will capture you. It begins with Jane, an old woman in a nursing home, but she is a very small part of the story. The story goes back to the latter part of the nineteenth century, moving between the US Civil War and a few days in the late fall of 1899. She looks back at her parents: her first father and mother, her second father, her third father and her second mother. The Civil War portion tells the story of Abel, Jane's second father, the one she had for the briefest time. Abel fought on the rebel side, and his memory takes us through the loss of fellow soldiers, the lost of family, and the loss of others he meets along the way. It is doled out in bits, with pieces alluded to, hinted at, and told partly, before we hear the tale in full. The time in 1899 tells of Abel's last journey, and his relationship with Glenn and Ellen, Jane's third father and second mother. It tells the tale of how she came by these parents, and the challenges that these adults faced. The writing is lovely, and the story will capture you as you wait to find out how they manage through their difficult lives.

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