The Wilding

The Wilding
A Novel
Benjamin Percy

"Percy's novel unabashedly invites comparisons to James Dickey's Deliverance . . . but it stands on its own with its glittering prose."—The New York Times Book Review

“As in the best of Benjamin Percy’s short stories (many of which were published in Esquire), the men at the center of The Wilding, his first novel, are not so much crafted as carved with a Buck knife from rough-hewn timber-splintery, deeply grained, primed to ignite. They are outdoorsmen and vets and suburban dads battling against the world, marriages and wars gone bad, lives that turned out wrong. And so they do what all men do, in their own ways: They take to the woods, to the gun, to another life. Fear and deadly choices come, because they always do­—especially in the outdoors, especially in fiction by Benjamin Percy.”—Esquire 

About the Book

"It’s as close as you can get to a contemporary Deliverance."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)  

A canyon earmarked for development as a golf resort. One last hunting trip in a vanishing wilderness. A grandfather, a son, and a grandson—plus one angry bear. Over the course of the weekend, each man will change in sharply contrasting ways.

Additional Reviews

“At the core of this powerfully written first novel about a father-son-grandson hunting and fishing expedition into the mountains of Central Oregon stands an old theme in American fiction: the test of ordinary folks against the wilderness. . . . Percy writes a clean, clear, muscular sentence. . . .  And he delineates his characters with a knife-sharp psychological edge.”—Alan Cheuse, All Things Considered, NPR

“Vested with the darkness of Percy’s previous work, The Wilding is a conglomeration of almost clashing juxtapositions: A failing marriage. Big land deals. A bizarre fetish. A miscarriage. A marauding grizzly bear. . . . Percy gathers up the threads of these cheerless, fearful lives, dissatisfied with themselves and their families, angered by the sense their existence is meaningless, and spurs them to destiny.”—The Oregonian

“Percy’s excellent debut novel . . . digs into the ambiguous American attitude toward nature as it oscillates between Thoreau’s romantic appreciation and sheer gothic horror. . . . A taut plot and cast of deeply flawed characters—Justin is a masterwork of pitiable wretchedness—will keep readers rapt as peril descends and split-second decisions come to have lifelong repercussions. It’s as close as you can get to a contemporary Deliverance.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Percy tells his adventure story in prose that doesn’t pound its consumption themes into your brain; instead, his writing is as natural, dark, and deep as the woods he writes about. At 31, Percy is as promising a writer as anyone on a certain New York magazine’s list of promising writers under 40.”—The Boston Globe

"In some places, Percy's narrative raises our blood pressure. In others, the novel's gothic scenes evoke the supernatural. Ultimately, the novel places nature front and center, reminding the reader that even in this information age we can still be humbled by its mysteries."—ISLE
"A brilliant combination of suspense and father-son drama."—Barnes and Noble Review