CBR13Bingo – The Wilds
This is a consummate river novel. There’s been a few of those over the years like Deliverance, Heart of Darkness, and The African Queen. This one shares some of the sensibilities of especially Deliverance, with some atmospheric qualities of nature writers. Two friends from college have decided to spend their summer canoeing, hunting, fishing, and camping in the far Canadian northeast. Early one, they run across two “fat Texans” who are drunk or high, and hear the faint traces of a fight between a man and a woman. These are their only companions in hundreds of squares of wilderness. They go looking for the man and woman once it’s clear that a forest fire poses a serious danger. They can’t find them, but continue to search while making plans to started heading back. Along the way, we learn, through flashbacks, more about the two men. Jack is born to nature. Small and lean, he’s spent most of his life in nature through family trips. Wynn is also a natural, but more from a patrician, workman kind of version of it. The men find the man from the couple, bruised, dazed, and about to row over a waterfall. The woman, however, is missing.
I kept not knowing what this book was, and this was a good thing. I was not ready for the pivots it took and found it very compelling.