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momelimberham | 19 other reviews | Jun 8, 2022 |
This was...not what I was expecting, and I think my reading experience suffered as a result.

Shields has written a clearly literary work that, though it does bring in the fantastical, remains firmly rooted in reality. But while the back cover copy starts with a mention of sasquatch, and finishes with "The magical world Sharma Shields has created is one of unicorns and lake monsters, ghosts and reincarnations, tricksters and hexes....[and] pushes the boundaries of the imagination"... the truth is that the 'magic' of the world is barely present. One could argue over whether the maybe-sasquatch seems less magical only because he's presented in such realistic terms, but the end result is the same--the magic of the world takes up a total of perhaps a dozen pages in a book that comes close to being 400 pages long. At least for me, this just wasn't what I expected, and even re-reading the back cover copy now, I have to say I feel like it's misleading.

As a literary take on a man obsessed with sasquatch, this is an interesting read in the stylings of slice-of-life & dismay writers like Jonathan Franzen and Richard Russo, and Shields is clearly a talented writer. At the same time, I admit I wonded more magic, and hoped for something more like the magical realism of Alice Hoffman, or even something far weirder like the work of VanderMeer or Link. Instead, what I got felt like it worked to bring magic down to a pedestrian, domestic level with characters who were believable, but not particularly enjoyable to read about.

Would I recommend this one? I'm not sure--in a particular situation, certainly. In general, though, I fear I found it kind of boring and predictable, and as fascinated as I was by the premise and the magical elements, it felt like they were there to sell the book more so than to make the book.½
 
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whitewavedarling | 19 other reviews | Mar 29, 2022 |
Every once and awhile I like to read something completely different and The Sasquatch Hunter’s Almanac by Sharma Shields certainly fit the bill for that. This is the unique and strange story of Eli Roebuck and his obsession with hunting the mystical Sasquatch. This obsession goes back to when Eli was nine years old and his mother chose to leave the family, walking off into the woods with her Sasquatch lover, Mr. Krantz. This abandonment shaped the rest of Eli’s life.

This is a dark and inventive fantasy story that engulfs the reader with some very imaginative story telling and is peopled with various magical beings including lake monsters, bird women, ghosts and unicorns. Covering some 60 years in the life of the Roebuck family, this peculiar tale was a fun read that eventually became a little too much for me to absorb and although I stuck with it, I admit that I basically skimmed the last third of the book.

I live in the Pacific Northwest and as much as I would love there to be Sasquatches, I simply cannot accept their existence. I applaud the author for the originality of this book, but in the long run, it just couldn’t hold my attention. I was reminded of the television show “Twin Peaks” that I started out loving but grew more and more disenchanted as it got weirder and weirder.
 
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DeltaQueen50 | 19 other reviews | Jan 31, 2022 |
A wonderful quirky tale with many interesting and unexpected twists along the way. I highly recommend this book!
 
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ChetBowers | 19 other reviews | Mar 10, 2021 |
Stickered as "fantasy" by my library, this book combines a crucial element of Greek myth with a modern setting. Cassandra, the Greek maiden who could prophecy the future but was never believed is manifested here in Mildred Groves, a peculiar young woman who has visions of future death and destruction, but is called Mad Millie by her peers and her hateful mother and sister. She breaks away to a fresh start as a typist at the Hanford site in nearby Washington on the Columbia River. The year is 1944. Historically fascinating, this is the site where plutonium was developed for the Atom bombs that ended the war. Fictionally, Millie is personal secretary to Dr. Hall, one of the main scientists leading the project (Einstein and Fermi are also mentioned). The race is on to end the war and everyone at the site is focused on this, though most really don't know what they are part of. The fierce river and the local maddening winds were part of the choice for the site, hoping they would clean the air and water of the toxic substance. Millie begins to have visions again of what "the product" will do to the people the bomb is dropped on, and also the local people working and living near Hanford. But sworn to secrecy and loyalty as she is, there are very few people she can tell. Dr. Hall sees her as fascinating and 'wasted potential', her only friend Beth, a nurse sees her as "nervous" and also a bit of a chore - she is the one who retrieves her in her nighttime wandering visions. Others there see her as mad, but to remain at Hanford which is both her salvation and torture, she most appear "normal." In typical time fashion, Millie is encouraged to find a husband at Hanford where the men vastly outnumber the women, and two come into play: Gordon and Tom Cat. Gordon fills the ancient role of Ajax who brutally attacks Cassandra. Tom Cat is devoted, but ineffectual. Neither are the answer to Millie's status and role. This is a dark tale, full of foreboding and responsibility, and is so fascinating to consider in the knowledge of history 50 years after the fact. Supremely well-written and easily believed in its "fantasy" elements, but woeful in its outcome.
 
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CarrieWuj | 11 other reviews | Oct 24, 2020 |
The pandemic is a wonderful time to tackle short story collections for already short attention spans. I love this collection. Sharma Shields might get buried under the pile of all of those similar whimsical short story writers that I love, but to me, Shields is just as good: Kelly Link, Karen Russell, George Saunders, Julia Elliott, and a billion other writers of the type. Stories with that touch of the whimsical or fantastical covering an underlying darkness. In the case of Shields, usually featuring cryptids or mythical beasts in everyday situations (like Medusa in the FANTASTIC 'Brains and Beauty') but sometimes some humanish beasts acting monstrously. Either way, the stories are lovely. 'Neighborhood' is a short example of her style, somehow I'm unable to find it online, though one of my favorites. I'm glad I found this collection and the writing of Sharma Shields in general. Every story is a treat, though I wish some had been longer. I will be a fan as long as she is writing!
 
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booklove2 | 1 other review | May 9, 2020 |
Strange but compelling read. As if Neil Gaiman and Anne Tyler wrote a book together, with a dash of John Irving for good measure.
 
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Skatuva | 19 other reviews | Feb 2, 2020 |
I really struggled with this book - the premise is fascinating: a young woman who experiences glimpses of the future takes a job working for the Manhattan Project in Hanford, Washington. The secrecy surrounding the work prevents her from knowing exactly what's going on, but the nightly visions of horrors tells her its a dangerous weapon. I'm fascinated by the Manhattan Project and the atomic industry, but this book is more about this woman's struggle with her own visions and her relationships, neither of which come to a satisfying conclusion. She initially has an annoying and unkind family, which are later replaced by friends largely of the same nature. The one seemingly good friends ends up married to a rapist, so it almost seems like the moral of this novel is that good things happen to bad people and really bad things happen to good people.
 
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wagner.sarah35 | 11 other reviews | Jul 20, 2019 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I'm a Sharma Shields fan after reading 'The Sasquatch Hunter's Almanac', so was eagerly awaiting her next book. Here it is! I've always been aware of the Cassandra mythology - those who can see the future, whether through premonition or (or on a realistic level - logic itself), but these Cassandras never have anyone listen to what they are saying. Mildred has visions of what will happen to others from an early age and of course people call her Mad Mildred. She escapes her demanding and overbearing mother and sister to work at the mysterious Hanford site, working as a secretary for those who are working on the atomic bombs. Of course not many people at Hanford knew they were working on atomic bombs, many people doing small parts to keep things secretive. Even Mildred's visions aren't distinct. Things certainly aren't easy for Mildred, so she greatly appreciates this newfound freedom of a job, even sending her paychecks back to her family. Even if this book wasn't about atomic bombs and WWII, the book would be very dark. Mildred's story is dark, as the stories of many women throughout time. I'm not sure how relatable Mildred is to most readers in the present day, but there were hints of sentences that told me that Sharma Shields really understood the psychology of what Mildred might have went through in her trapped situation in the 1940s before she went to Hanford. I could tell Shields really knew Mildred. But then Mildred really goes off the rails and things that her sister and mother say later in the book make me question how reliable of a narrator Mildred is. So Mildred is relatable up to a point. In the end, the book seemed to be more about Mildred than her deadly premonitions, which is something that the dehumanized Mildred needed anyway but I'm not sure what the premonitions meant for the book, or even Japan, or even those at the Hanford site. But it's the dark story of the Cassandra all along: those premonitions were all for nothing.
 
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booklove2 | 11 other reviews | May 10, 2019 |
Hugely disappointing.

(Full disclosure: I received a free e-ARC for review through NetGalley. Trigger warning for child abuse and racist and misogynist violence, including rape.)

"This—the butchery, the dripping floor—was what kingdoms of men did to one another. We were no more than instruments of hatred."

DNF at 65%.

Mildred Groves has always been haunted by visions. Actually, "haunted" is the wrong word: as terrible and disturbing as her visions are, Mildred welcomes them, like an old friend or security blanket. They make her powerful. Different. Unique. Yet they also make her an outcast, a lightening rod, a target for bullies. Turns out that people don't very much like hearing about the calamity that's about to befall them.

Things come to a head not long after the death of her beloved father. At their riverside memorial Mildred pushes her mother into the water. After this she's put on house arrest, of a sort: sentenced to take care of Mother, in all her failing health. An unemployed, friendless spinster at twenty-something. In Mildred's quest to be the perfect daughter, her visions flee soon afterward. So when she has a prophecy that she will be employed at the newly built Hanford Research Center in Washington, helping to defeat Hitler, she eagerly plans her escape.

With her strong secretarial skills and unusual mind, Millie is quickly hired as physicist Dr. Phillip Hall's secretary, where she's privy to sensitive information about "the product" they're developing at Hanford. Her escalating visions, accompanied by bouts of sleepwalking, tell her things, too: glimpses of bodies with the skin melted off, eyeballs oozing into nothing, a river choked with corpses. Yet when she questions the ethics of what they're doing at Hanford - continuing to develop a nuclear weapon even after the surrender of the German forces - she's dismissed as misguided, hysterical, or crazy. Or, worst of all: threatened with dismissal on mental health grounds, sending her straight back to Mother's depressing and oppressive home in Omak.

Part historical fiction, part reimagining of the Greek myth of Cassandra, I thoroughly expected to love The Cassandra. Unfortunately, it's just...not good.

As other reviewers have noted, the characters are all one-dimensional - especially the abusive Mother and sister Martha. They're such caricatures that I wondered for awhile if Mildred might be an unreliable narrator, but I really didn't get any confirmation of this in my reading. Like, Mother deserved to take a tumble into the Okanogan River, and then some. And yet there's no indication that anyone sees Mother and Martha's treatment of Mildred as wrong. Which in itself seems wrong. It's all just really weird and frustrating.

Ditto the rampant sexism, which is certainly appropriate for the era - but, in order to make it somewhat bearable, we need a character who questions, challenges, stands up against it. A contrast or aspiration. Mildred seems the obvious choice, and yet. Nada.

I struggled with DNF'ing this book more than most; even though I hated every minute of it, I found the plot interesting enough to want to know how the story ends. The final nail in the coffin came as I was perusing Goodreads reviews, and saw that Millie is brutally raped at the 70% point. I was 65% in, and that was it for me. I don't appreciate rape scenes to begin with, and I certainly wasn't willing to sit through one for this story.

I usually love the unpopular books - especially feminist scifi written by women - but sadly I'm with the haters here. Hard pass.

http://www.easyvegan.info/2019/03/29/the-cassandra-by-sharma-shields/
 
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smiteme | 11 other reviews | Mar 13, 2019 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Very good read - I couldn't put this down. This is a very strange book but in a good way. It is a modern myth based on the ancient Greek story of Cassandra but set in Washington State during the last years of World War II. The protagonist, Millie, has grown up with the gift/curse of prophetic visions that turn out to be true. She is thought of as mad, weird, and worse since many of her visions involve tragedy and death. Not understood by her family, she decides to escape a miserable home situation in Omak, WA, and apply to work at the Hanford research center as a secretary. Over time, she comes to understand the mission of the Hanford site along with experiencing visions of the upcoming horrors of the nuclear bombs and ensuing deaths.
This fabulist novel might not be for everyone (including a trigger warning for rape). It has a lot of violent imagery, and the symbolic animals in her visions like snakes, a coyote, and a frightening heron really are ominous. Also, some of the most infuriating parts of this story are the sexist attitudes of the men in the 40's and the horrible powerlessness of the women.
I really appreciate the research done by Sharma Shields in the writing of this book. I found the information about the Hanford site fascinating. She's written a moving, tragic story about winning war at all costs.
 
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KatyBee | 11 other reviews | Dec 27, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
3.5
Sharma Shield's novel The Cassandra was a very dark read. The protagonist Mildred Groves' gift of prophecy alienates her from her family and the larger society. She struggles with a desire to fit in while visions reveal horrifying inevitabilities and men's true natures.

Mildred ceases the chance to escape her suffocating home and needy mother, thrilled to find work at a WWII government research facility in a remote part of Washington on the Columbia River. The "project" will shorten the war, she is told. Mildred becomes an esteemed worker, makes her first best friend, and even gains an admirer. She revels in the freedom.

But night finds her sleepwalking and experiencing gruesome dreams of the project's dire consequences for humanity.

Shields vividly describes the historical Hanford Project research facility, part of the Manhatten Project--the wind and dust, the subjugation of minorities and women, the ignorance of the workers and the willingness of the researchers to risk environmental degradation to win the arms race.

Mildred's abuse and violent acts in response to her inability to change events around her are disturbing. More disturbing is humanity's blind determination in believing that the ultimate weapon will save the world.

I received a free book from the publisher through LibraryThing.
 
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nancyadair | 11 other reviews | Dec 17, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Mildred Groves in THE CASSANDRA, by Sharma Shields, wants to escape the life she has been dealt caretaking for her cantankerous, angry mother. She finds a job at Hanford, a secret government base where the "product" is being created and help is needed by the bus full. Mildred develops friendships and relishes in her new life, but quickly her hidden ability, having accurate visions of the future, begins to overwhelm her life and reveal so many truths to her that she finds it hard to live in the present with the future constantly swirling around her. Mildred must reconcile the present and the future and find out what she wants and whether she is satisfied with what the future holds.
Shields does a masterful job of creating Mildred Groves. Not only is she likable and the reader pulls for her, but Mildred's voice is so clear that no choice she makes, while shocking at times, is unbelievable in any way. The setting at Hanford during World War II is compelling as well, the image of futuristic technological advancement in a desert almost void of life mirrors Mildred's simple views of right and wrong butting heads with the philosophical considerations of the intellectual giants Mildred works for. From Mildred's overbearing mother, to her caring but guarded boss (Dr. Hall), to her best friend throughout most of the book (Beth) who would do anything to help Mildred but will always make the easy choices in her own life, Sharma wastes no character and makes them as three dimensional as possible and each fascinating in their own right.
Shields is an excellent storyteller. As I read the THE CASSANDRA, I enjoyed discovering Mildred's world, the good and bad of it, and I look forward to reading another book by Shields in the future.
I received this book as part of the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.
 
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EHoward29 | 11 other reviews | Dec 7, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The story of Mildred Groves captured my attention from the beginning. However, the story became redundant and confusing. Glimpses of what it might have been like to secretly work on the atom bomb were few and far between. Instead Mildred keeps getting visions of the death and destruction it will cause. Interesting characters are woven throughout the story but I was never quite sure how Mildred felt about them. Does she love Beth or not, Tom Cat? Gordon in the beginning? The author is a talented writer, but the story telling needs a bit of work.

This was a Early Reviewers book.
 
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Brenda63 | 11 other reviews | Dec 3, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I desperately wanted to enjoy this given the premise of the book; a female's point of view on the Hartford Atomic Bomb creation during WWII, better yet a recreation of a Greek Mythical classic, Cassandra. But, the dreams Mildred has and the lack of focus on the Hartford happenings made it hard to enjoy and difficult to keep up. Additionally, the lacking story line and minimal conversations within make this a hard one to enjoy. Dark family life, disturbing dreams and minimal WWII focus make this one I would not pick up again.

*Disclaimer: A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher. All opinions are my own.
 
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JillRey | 11 other reviews | Dec 2, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This novel is a retelling of the Greek myth of Cassandra, whose mystical power was to be able to force the future, but her curse was that no one believed her prophesies. In this novel, the Cassandra is Milly, a secretary on the Manhattan Project during WWII. Milly's backstory, violent seizure/sightings and work on the secretive campus developing atomic weapons all cast a very dark pallor over the retelling. For me, the story never really got off the ground and I didn't find Milly a likable, sympathetic or compelling character.

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via LibraryThing's Early Reviewer Program. Thanks!
 
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Well-ReadNeck | 11 other reviews | Nov 23, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Sharma Shields' newest work, THE CASSANDRA, bites off a lot: the Cassandra myth; the secrecy around the design & development of the atomic bomb; the morality of using the bomb; racial prejudice; disregard for Native Americans; the women in the WWII work force struggling with a male-dominated culture, and more. Maybe too much to tackle in one novel, which becomes evident in the fact that it takes nearly 200 pages to set the scene - backwater Eastern Washington, and the Hanford Research Center - for the horrific climax. All this scene-setting, and the glacial pace at which it spooled out, made me want to pitch the book across the room and move on to something better. But I was interested in how the Cassandra theme would play out - and it does, if rather predictably. But the voice in which the story is told - that of plump, 20-something Mildred Groves, from tiny Omak, Washington - comes across as simply a bit too simple, especially considering she IS the Cassandra figure, one who can foresee the future. The style is just too damn Nancy Drew-like in its near 'prissiness.' The book is barely redeemed by the last 60-70 pages, and even then the denouement is overly long, with an ending that simply, well, ended. Frankly, I can't believe I read the whole thing. (two and a half stars)

- Tim Bazzett, author of the memoir, BOOKLOVER½
 
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TimBazzett | 11 other reviews | Nov 18, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
There is a lot to like in this book. Shields reworks the Greek myth of Cassandra placing the seer as a secretary at a site of the Manhattan Project. While the author writes well, beautifully at times, there is an ungainliness at times in the character development which I found difficult to get past.
 
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3bythesea | 11 other reviews | Nov 14, 2018 |
A lovely debut, full of whimsy (good whimsy) and magic. Shields has a light touch, which benefits the story by keeping it honest. Sasquatch is established right off the bat and, as such, we already know a ton about the world we're about to visit. Combined with easy-going prose and the right dash of both humor and pathos, you end up with a delightful (if not terribly impactful) debut. I only wish it had gone even farther into itself, for then it might've been something truly exceptional.

More at RB: http://ragingbiblioholism.com/2014/10/08/the-sasquatch-hunters-almanac/
 
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drewsof | 19 other reviews | Sep 30, 2015 |
Meet the creatures of The Sasquatch Hunter's Almanac...

As a young boy, Eli Roebuck is scarred by the image of his mother embracing a massive, hair-covered man she calls Mr. Krantz before leaving the life she knows and following him into the woods. For the next several decades, Eli will be haunted by her choice and his life will be dominated by the search for the elusive Mr. Krantz in The Sasquatch Hunter’s Almanac by Sharma Shields.

The Sasquatch Himself

Eli comes to believe that Mr. Krantz is none other than the mythical Sasquatch rumored to roam the forests of the Northwest. Sharma Shields follows Eli in his quest to find the creature, but also allows readers to experience life from the perspective of the Sasquatch himself.

The Half-Bird Shopkeeper

Eli’s wife finds herself in a local shop that seems to appear only when customers need it. Run by a woman with ostrich legs and filled with odd trinkets, the shop leads his wife to a purchase that will permanently alter her life’s course.

The Silver-Blooded Unicorn

One of Eli’s daughters accidentally hits a unicorn with her car, leaving it to die on the side of the road. She finds herself strangely drawn to the animal and can’t resist the urge to steal its powerful horn.

The Sasquatch Hunter’s Almanac is peppered with many creatures, both familiar and new, that breathe magical realism into the novel, as it winds its way through the twentieth century. Starting with Eli’s childhood in the early 194o’s and following his family through the next several decades, each chapter becomes a snapshot of life and feels almost like a short story. Unfortunately, this makes it easy for some sections to stand out from others, giving the book a slightly uneven feel. Still, Sharma Shields has written an unexpected, ambitious novel filled with the creepy creatures to prove it.

More at rivercityreading.com
 
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rivercityreading | 19 other reviews | Aug 10, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Summary: When Eli Roebuck was nine years old, his mother wakes him up early and introduces him to Mr. Krantz, a gigantic, hairy man who doesn't speak much. She then tells Eli she loves him, and walks with Mr. Krantz off into the forest, leaving Eli behind forever. As Eli grows up, he becomes obsessed with Mr. Krantz, who he comes to believe is a sasquatch. This obsession dominates not only Eli's own life, but also the lives of his wives, his children, his grandchildren, and everyone around him - many of whom have their own chance encounters with the improbable, the mythic, or the monstrous. But Eli's obsession is singular, isolating him from all human connection, and locking him in a life-long conflict with the mysterious monster - or man? - that he feels ruined his life.

Review: While this seemed like a book I should have liked, it didn't really do much for me, and I'm having a hard time putting my finger quite on why. Part of it is certainly that while this book features several mythical creatures, it's not (really) fantasy in the way that most genre readers would use the label. It's much more literary fiction with a heavy dose of magical realism - there's always the possibility that Mr. Krantz really is just an exceptionally hairy human - and the creatures are more metaphor than magic. Another part of it is that I really disliked basically all of the characters, which, while I understand that their basic unsympathetic-ness was intentional on the part of the author, also meant that I wasn't particularly eager to spend time with them and their stories, so it became very easy to put this book down and very tough to find the motivation to pick it back up again. The writing itself was lovely, and there was some very nice imagery and turns of phrase, but I had a hard time picking out what the themes of the book were (other than "obsession leads to isolation," which, yes, I got that) so ultimately I didn't really feel like I got a lot out of this book. 3 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: It reminded me most of Erick Setiawan's Of Bees and Mist, even though they're not at all similar story-wise. But I'll paraphrase what I said in my review of that book for this one: If you like your fiction literary, your realism magical, and your stepfathers with mythically large and hairy feet, then this is your book!
 
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fyrefly98 | 19 other reviews | Jul 31, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A beautiful and lyrical tale of magical realism in which a young boy has an encounter with a creature he believes to be a Sasquatch and spends the rest of his life hunting for it. His search affects his family in significant ways, and all of them have encounters with something seemingly supernatural. The magic of the book is that each mystical experience highlights an important desire of the character and serves to either show them what they really need or guide them on their path. The paranormal elements aren't just for the sake of sensationalism, they serve to highlight human nature in interesting ways and explore familial relationships, revealing conflicts that are all too common.
 
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EmScape | 19 other reviews | Apr 12, 2015 |
Quirky, odd, humorous, and painful are good words to describe this adventurous tale of a young boy whose mother runs away with a sasquatch. The books follows his life -- and the influence of that event in directing all aspects of the boy's future, from the career he chooses to his relationships with his family. A little too uneven, but I do give extra points to books set in the Pacific Northwest (especially in Washington/Idaho) and authors who live locally (in this case, Spokane). If you have a fascination for the oddball and an interest in Big Foot, read this novel!
 
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Randall.Hansen | 19 other reviews | Feb 19, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
At age nine, Eli watches his mother walk away with a Sasquatch into the woods and never return. So begins a lifelong quest, either to find his mother or the Sasquatch Mr. Krantz. Haunted by the giant footprints leading into the woods, Eli becomes a podiatrist but also a cryptozoologist. The book reminded me of many things: it has a magical realism style like Karen Russell or Neil Gaiman, but then gets into the odd, weird and creepy like David Lynch. The writing is probably like Kelly Link, but to be fair, I haven't read anything from Link yet (soon, soon). The novel could almost be a collection of connected stories, sometimes open-ended but almost always like Twilight Zone episodes but more risqué. Let's just say the Sasquatch is a more realistic monster than some other monsters in the book, therefore making the Sasquatch's actual existence seem plausible. The main character Eli, guesses that there could be up to 5,000 in North America. I liked the book - it's full of dark whimsy and mystery (though sometimes I would have liked certain details explained a bit more). I loved the shifting perspectives and stating which year the story is taking place at the beginning of the chapters is helpful, as the book covers over seventy years. Around ten characters have some chapters written from their perspective, though it mostly stays with Eli, but it never seems too much -- it's very well balanced. I wouldn't have wanted the chapter setup or the style to change at all. This one is a dark horse (or should I say unicorn) that I hope gets the attention from readers that it deserves.
 
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booklove2 | 19 other reviews | Feb 17, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
In 1943, when Eli Roebuck was nine years old, his mother invited a large, non-vocal, hairy, man named Mr. Krantz to their house for tea. Afterwards, she walked off into the forest of north Idaho with the hairy man and didn’t come back. This set Eli off on a lifetime search for Sasquatch. Not in a flamboyant, showy, way, but as scientifically has he can do it. Mr. Krantz has become Eli’s great white whale, and it affects all his relationships. His two marriages suffer from this, as do his relationships with his daughters. They are all secondary, as is his career as a podiatrist, to his hunt for Mr. Krantz.

The magical realism in this novel means that it’s no surprise that Sasquatch exists; there is also a lake monster, half dog babies, and unicorns. Shields has created a fairly seamless world, based in eastern Washington and north Idaho. Different chapters are told from different points of view: Eli’s, various members of his family’s, even Mr. Krantz’s. The cast of characters is interesting and varied; they are far from caricatures but they seem a little… flat? Everyone is fighting their own monsters, but somehow they don’t come completely alive. Still, I enjoyed the book a lot, and will be looking out for more of Shields’ work. (It didn’t hurt that it was set in the area I live in)
 
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lauriebrown54 | 19 other reviews | Jan 25, 2015 |
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