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For an Instant He Was a Child Again, Clutching Tightly His Father s Strong Hand in the Starlit Dark Night After nightfall, they sat up to watch the ocean dark under the nightblue sky Abel and the dog The rain clouds lay far to sea and they watched a single star fall arcing soundlessly across the heavens and then another and another while myriad others glistened and shined and moved slowly through the heavens like things alive, and who could say they were not They were quiet and still together For an Instant He Was a Child Again, Clutching Tightly His Father s Strong Hand in the Starlit Dark Night After nightfall, they sat up to watch the ocean dark under the nightblue sky Abel and the dog The rain clouds lay far to sea and they watched a single star fall arcing soundlessly across the heavens and then another and another while myriad others glistened and shined and moved slowly through the heavens like things alive, and who could say they were not They were quiet and still together The old man knew that in all the world s turning there had been but few moments such as this and so did not speak And beside him, the dog s strong, inarticulate heart beat softly and together they sat under the bright, spirited stars until sleep overtook them Ever since reading Cold Mountain I have been trying to find a book like it, not especially the romance part of that book but the adventure that the main character had when he walked home from the Civil War I finally found it in this book Weller s writing is reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy s, but a McCarthy with emotions I can read McCarthy and not feel much for what the characters are going through, whereas, Weller s writing makes me feel the pain and the sorrow of all involved This has to be my favorite book after The Road I wish I could pick up another book by Weller, but this is one was his debut I don t think that I can say enough about his writing It is so lyrical that every sentence is a poem and most of it could be written in free verse style He writes in the way that I wish I could.The pages are bound in one tragic story after another This book got my mind off all other problems in our world by putting it on a story written about the past., America s past, the Civil War, and what it had done to humanity, A past I hope we never repeat., but which, sadly, is repeated daily in our world.It is a story about Abel, a man who survived the Civil War his last battle at Wilderness wounded him deeply and ended his career as a confederate soldier He now lives in a shack on a beach in Washington with his faithful dog It seems idyllic to me, but it doesn t last.This book, while taking place in the present moment, is also about remembering, remembering his wife and baby daughter and remembering the war Abel lay back He closed his eyes against the brightness of the night and listened to the constant sound of the ocean at its labors Underbrush crackled softly as deer explored the slopes above the beach Abel closed his eyes and tried hard not to see her, to keep seeing her He tried not to see either of them, but it came back, like it always did, in the fall when the air grew crisp and the leaves began to turn, then die and fall There are other scenes in this book that will be forever engraved in my mind I still see the image of a young boy named David, whose shirt was literally falling off his back and whose shoes were beyond repair He finally received a package from home, a handmade shirt from his mother that was made from a tablecloth, but even this gift is not without tragedy, little is in this book.Abel says, I seen things I can t forget They won t turn me loose, and if they did, I can t imagine what I d do with myself Who I d be Abel found one of his friends wounded at a military hospital in the wilderness, his arms cut off And he didn t even know that they were gone He even tried to shoo a fly off one of his missing arms but was unsuccessful It reminded me of a book I had to read in college, All Quiet of the Western Front where a man had his legs blown off and was running around on stumps How much I had wished I had never had to read that book But this book is written beautifully it wasn t Still, maybe I will someday wish that I had never read this one either.Somehow I think that this last should have ended the book, but of course the story goes on withandtragedy than any one life can handle After a moment, he Abel gathered his things and made to turn, but chanced to look starward, where he saw them falling out of the night.It was no repetition of the Leonids of 33 or even the lesser shower after the war, but perhaps some celestial precursor of other, greater star showers yet to come Long white trails etched flashing across the glassy night soundlessly in cold parabola They glittered in the old man s eyes, and for an instant he was a child again, clutching tightly his father s strong hand in the starlit dark, and then he was a man and young Updated and edited review I always knew that I wanted to read this book again, and for some reason I picked it up once , I missed the way it was written I missed reading a great book.This time I got the audio narrated by Richard Poe What a fantastic voice, a perfect reader for this book, a reader that even Cormac McCarthy has hired to read, some, if not all, of his books Perfection When listening to this book you get an entire other view of it The mind sees , so to speak, much , as it is loosened from its need to see words There may never be another book like this for me I feel privileged to have read it If you enjoy authors like Charles Frazier, Lin Enger, Jeffrey Lent, and Peter Geye, I think you will find WILDERNESS to be a rewarding read A wonderfully atmospheric book of long ago mixed with the natural environment of Washington state, this period piece transports the reader effortlessly Weller s prose evokes a poignant and well told story. In a word Wow Hard as it is to believe, Lance Weller s WILDERNESS, polished and accomplished, is listed as a debut novel If you love literary fiction, enjoy reading a writer s writer, and have an affinity for Civil War literature, you can t do better than this.This is the story of Abel Truman, a veteran of the Civil War, an odd sort of Everyman who hails from New York yet fights for the South because he is in North Carolina during the outbreak of hostilities The chapters alternate between 18 In a word Wow Hard as it is to believe, Lance Weller s WILDERNESS, polished and accomplished, is listed as a debut novel If you love literary fiction, enjoy reading a writer s writer, and have an affinity for Civil War literature, you can t do better than this.This is the story of Abel Truman, a veteran of the Civil War, an odd sort of Everyman who hails from New York yet fights for the South because he is in North Carolina during the outbreak of hostilities The chapters alternate between 1864 and 1899 In the former, we see Abel fighting with the Rebs in the Wilderness Campaign Using realism and his keen gift for description, Weller provides a graphic narrative of the fighting and the deaths, balanced by the nobility of friendship among the soldiers and even acts of kindness between the enemies History buffs will note Weller s careful research as well Much of the action focuses on Saunder s Field here As for the latter, we move to a different wilderness altogether Thirty five years later, the older Truman scarred physically and mentally by the past has escaped to the wilds of the Pacific Northwest We see, however, how every Eden harbors its snakes as Abel is beset by two brigands who steal his dog for dog fighting purposes and terrorize the woods and mountains along the coast with atrocious abandon When Abel vows to get his dog back, he is forced to reckon anew with mankind s blunt capacity for killing and maiming.Back and forth, with compelling stories in both Abel s past and present, we meet various characters and follow a few sub plots, each with Abel Truman playing his part The Wilderness becomes a metaphor for life s journey, its sheer beauty and indifferent injustices for man himself, with his instinctive abilities to perpetrate good and evil with equal force Here is a small sampling of Weller s writing style It was very cold now his breath steamed and rose through the trees like moss vapor in the morning sun Abel clutched the broken grip where the metal was jagged and tried to control his breath, to ignore the thin, high, icy itch at the back of his throat He could smell himself, root sour and fusty, speaking of fear and sickness and age and anger and hurt He went slowly forward once , and only stopped when he saw the dog s eyes glowing redly from across the burned down fire Some might find the 1864 chapters reminiscent of Charles Frazier s COLD MOUNTAIN with its Civil War bent others the 1899 chapters of Knut Hamsun s PAN with its ex military hero hunting the coastal mountains for both day by day sustenance and elusive succor from the past, faithful dog by his side but all should agree that, in the current literary landscape, Weller has emerged as a new force to be appreciated and welcomed by lovers of history, literature, and the sheer possibilities of language itself Highly recommended This book gets 5 stars because I just finished reading it and I am still in awe of Lance Weller s talent Wow His first novel, Wow His masterful descriptions of both nature and battle scenes, Wow His characters, maimed and wounded both physically and emotionally, but still able function in the world and maintain their own goodness, drove me to tearsthan once And his decriptions of Gettysburg and the battle of the Wilderness drove home the reality and sadness of the Civil War like nothi This book gets 5 stars because I just finished reading it and I am still in awe of Lance Weller s talent Wow His first novel, Wow His masterful descriptions of both nature and battle scenes, Wow His characters, maimed and wounded both physically and emotionally, but still able function in the world and maintain their own goodness, drove me to tearsthan once And his decriptions of Gettysburg and the battle of the Wilderness drove home the reality and sadness of the Civil War like nothing else I have ever read This is one of the best Civil War novels I have ever read, and most of it takes place in Washington state in 1899 I still can t believe this is a first novel, but I hope Mr Weller is a young man, because I will read anything he ever writes, and his ability to paint pictures with words is awesome Once again, Wow A wonderful and sad story of an old soldier and his dog companion going on a quest We get flashbacks to his soldiering days in the Civil War the battle of the Wilderness 1864 The images from the front lines are very much alive The story itself is very well written I didn t have a lot of time lately to read for long hours at a time so I had to put this book away too many times before finishing it Yet every time I opened the book to read another few pages I was immediately drawn in I w A wonderful and sad story of an old soldier and his dog companion going on a quest We get flashbacks to his soldiering days in the Civil War the battle of the Wilderness 1864 The images from the front lines are very much alive The story itself is very well written I didn t have a lot of time lately to read for long hours at a time so I had to put this book away too many times before finishing it Yet every time I opened the book to read another few pages I was immediately drawn in I was right there at Abel s side Although it took me a long time to finish this book but it was of no fault of the author or his book This book even deserves a reread it will be at a time when I have enough time on my hand to finish it in 1 or 2 reading sessions Before I started writing this short review I marked the book with 4 stars I have quickly changed it to 5 stars I ve thinking lately about the term literary fiction It s a kind of an elusive term but generally it is used to denote a certain quality to the way the book is written, to the care given to the sentences, as when they make you pause or suddenly see something new or something old in a new way There s a presence you detect in literary fiction the unhurried presence of an author who has taken as much time as he needs and given the book a chunk of his flesh This book is literary fiction at I ve thinking lately about the term literary fiction It s a kind of an elusive term but generally it is used to denote a certain quality to the way the book is written, to the care given to the sentences, as when they make you pause or suddenly see something new or something old in a new way There s a presence you detect in literary fiction the unhurried presence of an author who has taken as much time as he needs and given the book a chunk of his flesh This book is literary fiction at its best made even better by the careful research of history and places like the civil war battles where some of the story takes place The true test of literary fiction is that it invites you, even urges you, to read it again And I will But despite the breathtaking descriptions, the perfect character driven dialogue, the careful structure of a story that begins in 1965 and then travels back and forth between 1864 and 1899 and not once did I not know where I was or who was speaking , despite the beauty of the words, what I liked the most about this book is that rare thing in literary fiction characters who are noble and full of gritty courage and who ask you in a quiet way if you can be like them I don t know if I have ever seen a book that treats the relationship between people of different races with the gentleness and power of this book I am grateful when an author reaches beauty and doesn t stop there, but goes on to awaken .Free Epub ☧ Wilderness ♩ 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 warAs 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 and child 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 pathIn 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 I ll start with this Wilderness is THE book I ve been waiting for this year In fact, if I could give itthan five stars, I would Without a doubt, it is among my all time favorite reads, so rich is it in sensory detail and drinkable prose The title of the book, alone, spoke to my natural sensitivities Wilderness You learn early on that the title has double meaning and a symbolic significance that influences the story of Abel Truman an old man alone, reclusive, with no one in the worl I ll start with this Wilderness is THE book I ve been waiting for this year In fact, if I could give itthan five stars, I would Without a doubt, it is among my all time favorite reads, so rich is it in sensory detail and drinkable prose The title of the book, alone, spoke to my natural sensitivities Wilderness You learn early on that the title has double meaning and a symbolic significance that influences the story of Abel Truman an old man alone, reclusive, with no one in the world but his aging dog A surviving soldier of the Confederacy in the Civil War, he fought in The Battle of the Wilderness and continues to fight that battle daily in his own mind He simultaneously battles against the wilds of Washington state s coastal lands, and with dubious thugs But along the pathways of his life, he witnesses, time and again, the kindness of humanity, its promise of hope.Perhaps all you need to know about this book is that it makes you feel from your heart down to the marrow of your bones, you will feel as you read the story of Abel Truman, a name befitting an able man, a man true to his beliefs even if he doesn t quite know it himself.You will be awed, horrified and inspired by the realities of the Battle of the Wilderness, as seen through Abel s flashbacks Weller s ability to paint lasting impressions of the war s stories of loyalty and bedlam is beyond explanation and chill inspiring.I loved the complex, non linear structure of this novel as well and am still awestruck that the author was able to thread so many stories and characters together, connecting them all to a pinnacle at the end So impressive.For readers who loved THE ORCHARDIST and BURIAL RITES, this book has equally evocative descriptions of a harsh but beautiful earth that interacts with its characters in ways heartbreaking and uplifting I give this book my highest endorsement If you love literary fiction with poetic sentences and setting as character, this is the book you must read this year I honestly was reluctant to finish the book and purposely stopped at the end a few times because I just couldn t bear to part with the natural setting and its sensory vibrancy But most of all, I knew I would miss Abel, such a complex, wonderful, achingly sad character And I do miss him Still He and his dog and the other characters will stay with me for a long, long while My recent interview with Lance Weller can be read novel was storytelling rich in setting and characters amidst days of the civil war.The author writes with some wonderful prose and eloquently words in the right places reminiscent of the writings of Hemingway and Cormac McCarthy in style of writing at times You will read sentences that really describe well the setting, the terrible and the beauty of the world contained within these pa My recent interview with Lance Weller can be read novel was storytelling rich in setting and characters amidst days of the civil war.The author writes with some wonderful prose and eloquently words in the right places reminiscent of the writings of Hemingway and Cormac McCarthy in style of writing at times You will read sentences that really describe well the setting, the terrible and the beauty of the world contained within these pages There was possibly an overdoing of descriptions at times but that does not lower its quality by any degree in being a wonderful read Blood Meriden by Cormac McCarthy comes to mind when reading this historical drama The tale was tragic and unrelenting in its struggle for better days over very grim and unforgiving circumstances There was a lasting mark left on me of the characters contained their sheer courage, bravery and heart long lasting I found that one main protagonist hadthan 9 lives of a cat, so to speak, as he manages to walk away from death many times.Enjoy this fine example of storytelling with lyrical beauty He lived beside the sea in the far northwest corner of these United States, and in the nights before he left he sat before his tiny shack watching the ocean under the night blue sky Sea grass sawed and rustled in a cool, salty wind A few drops of rain fell upon his face, wetting his beard and softly sizzling in the fire This light rain but the after rain of the lasts nights storm, or perhaps the harbinger of harder rains yet to come The shack creaked softy with the wind while the tide hissed all along the dark and rocky shore The moon glowed full form amidst the rain clouds, casting a hard light that slid like grease atop the water The old man watched ivory curlers far to sea rise and subside noiselessly Within the bounds of his little cove stood sea stacks weirdly canted from wind and waves Tide gnawed remnants of antediluvian islands and eroded coastal headlands, the tall stones stood monolithic and forbidding, hoarding the shadows and softly shining purple, ghost blue in the moon and ocean colored gloom Grass and wind twisted scrub pine stood from the stacks, and on the smaller, flatter, seaward stones lay seals like earthen daubs of paint upon the night s darker canvas From that wet dark across the bay came the occasional slap of a flipper upon the water that echoed into the round bowl of the cove, and the dog, as it always did, raised its scarred and shapeless ears Far to the west, where the night was fast upon the ocean s rim, the clouds had blown back and the old man could see stars where they dazzled the water He breathed and rocked before the fire His thought, beyond his control, went from painful recollections of women and family to worse remembrance of war because it had been his experience that one often led to the other stoking its fires until there was not a man who could resist and, upon yielding, survive as a man still whole Abel stood beside the fire and watched the ocean move constantly, restlessly, in the outer dark He looked at the stars that glistened hard and cold through gaps in the clouds and at the hazy moon behind He looked at the dog where it lay sleeping by the snapping fire Older now, it tired easily and slept hard, its long legs moving restlessly as it gave soft little puppy barks from its dreams Abel watched it for a time, then shed his clothes and stood naked, pale and ghostly in the shadows He started across the wrecked driftwood toward the sand, picking his way along carefully The tide seethed and rattled along the shore It sprayed and echoed on the stones in the deeper waters and slapped against itself still farther out, under the moon as it moved beyond the clouds, where men could not dwell nor prosper Beds of kelp, like inky stains upon the general darkness, bobbed on the swells while mounds of it, beached days past, lay quietly afester with night becalmed sand fleas near the driftwood bulwarks Glancing to the little river that cut sharply and dark through the sand, Abel saw the largest wolf he d ever seen, standing in the current watching him His own grief was nothing but suffering, then passing through sorrow, rage A black gall Nights steeped in drink Days of hungry wandering Begging, petty thievery, and a single wretched night of a full moon passed out facedown in some churchyard s grass And when war did come, Abel Truman found himself in North Carolina with a regiment of Tar Heels for no other reason than that was where he had happened to be And then all the rest happened, and finally, ten and twenty years in a one room shack on the shore of the cold, grey Pacific, and his life was blown Passed him by like a slow, tannic river easing out to sea He d eked out a meagre life beside the waters and when he felt he d finally had enough he d walked into the ocean and the ocean had cast him back A stillness now, as if the world were waiting, breathless The wind did not blow and the day grew warm They slept that night on the banks of some nameless stream for the cool of the water in the close, hot dark, and when they rose they could hear a distant, tearing sound as of a sturdy piece of canvas ripped lengthwise It came banging intermittently through the springtime air all morning and in the afternoon the tearing became a roar and the roar was constant They could hear shouting They stopped on arise on the outskirts of a four building village that lay abandoned The Wilderness was before them, studded with powder smoke that rose, slow, malignant, until the sun was darkened and the shadows grew long An old man hermit and his old dog begin suddenly to meander to a final destination on the Pacific coast in the final year of the 19th century This after a failed suicide attempt, which is taken as a sign that he hasto do, the rapidly declining one armed civil war veteran fights real villains intent on stealing his only remaining love, the dog, as well as imagined horrors and regrets from a horrific past The story returns back and forth from his days as a confederate in the Civil war to t An old man hermit and his old dog begin suddenly to meander to a final destination on the Pacific coast in the final year of the 19th century This after a failed suicide attempt, which is taken as a sign that he hasto do, the rapidly declining one armed civil war veteran fights real villains intent on stealing his only remaining love, the dog, as well as imagined horrors and regrets from a horrific past The story returns back and forth from his days as a confederate in the Civil war to the current time The only deviation is the first chapter where the girl he saves in her own old blind age remembers the old man, Abel Truman He is a superbly drawn character, full of actual visceral pain in old age which I can begin to relate too, getting there myself but mostly the trauma of the war between the states I can t recall another story that captures so perfectly the boredom, the fear and the actual battlefield state of mind it is antiwar in the best way reminds me of Gautreux coverage of the first world war in The Clearing This book is rich with history and the characters are fully rounded and interesting, male and female The un named Haida accompanied by his spindly damage white sidekick, is a frighteningly clever predator reminiscent of a Cormac McCarthy figure in his unwavering commitment to a violent destiny Mostly, though, the story is of the many regrets of our protagonist, Truman, who is lovable in his loyalty to his old dog as his travels lead him to a final act of greatness The wonder of this story is my inclination to read it fast to get to the outcome a sign of great writing where I had to force myself to slow down and appreciate the stunningly beautiful descriptions of nature, nigh air, sea, and the animal world that is all around Overall a thrilling read, that put in a class with Frazier s Cold Mountain What I can t figure is why this talented author doesn t havein the public domain