Monday, June 18, 2012

WildlifeWildlife by Richard Ford

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a classic coming of age story, a young man on the cusp of maturity who learns that life is fundamentally uncertain and unpredictable when his father decides to leave home to join the teams of men (and some women) heading off to fight forest fires in the mountains surrounding their town. Ford masterfully conveys Joe Brinson's feeling of being caught somewhere between knowing and not knowing what will happen next as he is thrust into the middle of the fire that is the dissolution of his parents' fragile marriage. This is a novel that derives its power from simple unadorned language and an unstinting attention to detail. The story behaves like the fire it describes, with white hot embers of emotion seething beneath the surface, threatening to flare up and destroy at any moment. And like a fire, once on the surface, it's difficult to control.

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