Book Review: The Wilding by Benjamin Percy
The Wilding by Benjamin Percy, Graywolf Press, 2010. Review by Debrah Lechner.
In The Wilding, Benjamin Percy takes on three important themes: the vanishing of wilderness and the impact of homo sapiens on the ecology of our planet, the meaning of family and how it pulls us together or apart, and the definition of what manhood means through three generations.
Percy’s writing in this novel is recklessly passionate, ferocious and fast-paced, but his thinking about these subjects is profound and carefully reasoned. He sees, illustrates and defends the differing viewpoints of grandfather, father and son. He portrays marriage in all of its potential for support and growth, limitations and frustrations. The gradual encroaching of our civilization into undeveloped areas for the benefit of our species, without regard to the detriment of others, is an issue that is explored in all of its complexity. Readers concerned with these issues will appreciate the ideas and insight on these subjects that can be found in this novel.
The Wilding is equally a riveting thriller, where the beauty of nature becomes peril, man becomes animal, and both the natural environment and the societal environment serve to show how wide and how wild the world is, and to what lengths an individual must go to fight for a place in it.
Benjamin Percy has also published The Language of Elk and Refresh, Refresh. He has won the Whiting Award and the Plimpton Prize and his work has been included in Best American Short Stories. He teaches both as an Assistant Professor in the MFA Program at Iowa State University and as a faculty member at Pacific University.
Visit Benjamin Percy’s website to learn more about the author. Then head over to Orion Magazine's website, where you can download audio of Percy reading "The Heart of a Bear".
You can pre-order The Wilding for your personal library at Amazon.com.