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Wilderness by Lance Weller

Wilderness (edition 2012)

by Lance Weller (Author)

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17910110,965 (3.92)3
Civil War veteran Abel Truman, now elderly and disabled, endures a solitary existence in a driftwood shack on the Pacific Coast before undertaking one last hike through the Olympic Mountains, a journey during which he reflects on the war's savagery and the people who touched his life.
Authors:Lance Weller (Author)
Info:Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (2012), Edition: First Edition First Printing, 293 pages
Collections:Your library

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Wilderness: A Novel by Lance Weller

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English (9)  French (1)  All languages (10)
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
Lance Weller's descriptions throughout this book are outstanding. He almost lost me, though, up front with too much description and, it seemed, no story. But I kept reading, looking for story, and did find one that is mostly heartbreaking.

The story I found wasn't quite what the book flap says, although that was probably because I misunderstood parts of it. That is too easy to do in WILDERNESS. I had to read many paragraphs more than once.

The subject of WILDERNESS is Abel Truman. Chapters cover Abel as an old man in 1899 and as a Civil War soldier in 1864. The years not described are those between 1864 and 1899, when Abel lives in a shack in the woods with his dog. Those are years we just assume.

My feeling is that in 1864, 1899, and the years between Abel is either dealing with or not dealing with the loss of his baby and wife. For me, that is the story. ( )
  techeditor | Jun 2, 2015 |
I think this may be the most unusual novel I have read in a long time. This is due, not to the format, style, or subject, not due to many things, but to the dense melancholy beauty of it as a whole. WILDERNESS is an extraordinarily courageous historical novel that links the end of the Civil War in the east with the bleak settling of the Northwest not long after the end of that war. Author, Lance Weller, holds back nothing of the gritty reality of battle, particularly the last battles of that difficult war; and there is not one iota of romanticizing it. What is surprising is that the war period of the book is not even the saddest part of it; for throughout the story the wilderness ,whether in Spotsylvania or the Olympic peninsula, is the wilderness of the human heart. At times, the sadness of this book is almost unbearable but the reader stays with it because it is unbelievably beautifully written and because the desire to know how it ends and what it all amounts to is too great to put it aside. As much as WILDERNESS is not about the wild places of the country, it is no more about the Civil War; and although it seems to be about Man’s capacity for violence, it isn’t about that either. Although there are many scenes of great violence, there are also moments of mercy and grace. It is really about the human heart and about people, especially about those people who come along and, against all reason, help and heal. It seems to be about those with souls and those without souls and the fact that we can’t know who is redeemable and who is not. Thankfully, after all the pain and suffering, there is redemption for those who seek it most through a most unlikely little girl, and although she only appears at the very beginning and the very end of the story, she provides the bookends that hold this masterpiece together. ( )
1 vote scenik1 | Nov 21, 2013 |
This is a debut novel by Lance Weller. I was attracted to it about a year ago when I saw a favorable mention in somebody's Best Books of 2012" The plot summary reminded me a bit of "Cold Mountain", a book that I enjoyed very much, so I thought I'd try it. "The Wilderness" (TW) tells the story of Abel Truman, a survivor of the Civil War and a survivor of Life thereafter. Abel, though born and raised in the north was in North Carolina when war broke out and hence became a Reb, which was OK with Abel. He survived countless battles, and managed to escape serious damage until the Wilderness Battle near Fredricksburg where he suffered a number of wounds. Most of the story flips back and forth between that battle and events in 1899 when Abel and his dog roamed the wilderness near the coastline of the northwest. Most of the story is narrative with very little dialog. The battle scenes are gruesome, but then so are many of the scenes in the wilderness post-Civil War. Abel is a guy who is content with going along. He is not very bright, and he often speaks without thinking, but generally he tries to do the right thing. He encounters some interesting folks but there were no moments nor relationships which particularly moved me. Some of the storyline was a bit confusing, perhaps purposefully unclear, but I didn't really care. I cannot remember the list I found it on and if I did I would probably not pay too much attention to their Best Books of 2013. ( )
  maneekuhi | Oct 8, 2013 |
A harsh, brutal, beautiful story of the Civil War, the Pacific Northwest and the capability of mankind for both great evil and great kindness and bravery. Heartbreaking story, with rich, transporting writing in the style of Jeffrey Lent and Charles Frazier. At times very difficult to read for its brutality, but I was captivated by the story and characters and could not put it down until I reached the end. ( )
  readaholic12 | Apr 16, 2013 |
Thirty years after the Battle of the Wolderness has left him permanently maimed, Abel Tubman feels he must come to terms with his past before the was. Haunted by the horror of the war and the tragic loss of his wife and child, he finds moments of unexpected kindness which saves his life. ( )
  creighley | Mar 8, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
"Rendered in powerful, richly detailed language that is at once grim and deeply moving, Wilderness interweaves the heartbreaking narratives of Civil War survivors—veterans, civilians, former slaves—whose lives are wrecked by unthinkable violence yet sustained by the tragic beauty still to be found in the world. Lance Weller writes with a quiet urgency that brings an immediacy to the past in the damaged bodies and haunted souls of his characters. A magnificent achievement!"
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Civil War veteran Abel Truman, now elderly and disabled, endures a solitary existence in a driftwood shack on the Pacific Coast before undertaking one last hike through the Olympic Mountains, a journey during which he reflects on the war's savagery and the people who touched his life.

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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 war.

As Abel makes his way into the foothills, the violence he endures at the hands of two thugs who are after his dog is crosscut 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 to 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 way stations of kindness along his tortured and ultimately redemptive path.

In 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 tells not only 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.
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