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Wilderness : a novel
Lance Weller
Adult Fiction WELLER

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From Publishers' Weekly:

War and remembrance combine powerfully in this rugged debut novel of the horrors of combat and the fierceness of nature. Thirty-five years after the Civil War, Abel Truman, a reclusive, isolated survivor of the cauldron of fire that raged in the 1864 Battle of the Wilderness, where he fought as a Confederate soldier and lost the use of his left arm, begins a journey home. In a tone that owes much, sometimes too much, to Hemingway, he braves the violence of Washington's Olympic Peninsula landscape and people as he ruminates on his losses and returns from the outer limits of civilization. Weller's depiction of the old soldier's journey through memory is the strongest part of the book, with long, vivid passages that evoke the sensory assault of combat and its aftermath. The small details of the battlefield, from the field hospital where his friends died to his glimpse of "a dented tuba lying lost in the middle of a swampy little creek and loose horses too numerous for counting" are potent Civil War prose, a respectful echo of Stephen Crane and Ambrose Bierce. Less successful are the scenes near the end of his trek, where race and violence and kindness jumble together in a murky variety of redemption and sacrifice. Agent: JET Literary Associates. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

Debut author Weller (winner of Glimmer Train's Short Story Award for New Writers) alternates between two stretches in the life of Abel Truman: his weeks as a Confederate soldier in the Battle of the Wilderness in May 1864, when his arm was lost and his friends killed, and the harrowing stretch in 1899 when aging Abel abandons his hermit lifestyle on the coast of Washington State to take one last try at redemption, but encounters interference from some depraved dog fighters. Weller vividly paints epic events against the backdrop of beautiful but brutal landscapes. It's a story brimming with compassion for those-including Abel, his wife and child, his soldier companions, his dog, newly freed slaves, Chinese immigrants, and a mixed-race couple-caught in fateful, savage events. VERDICT Spanning the continent, this tragic tale is the best Civil War novel since Cold Mountain. It's an important, compelling book for fans of literate historical fiction, dog lovers, or true believers in the resilience of the human spirit. Only those who can't handle extreme violence should stay away. [See Prepub Alert, 3/18/12.]-Neil Hollands, Williamsburg Regional Lib., VA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Abel Truman
Survivor of the Battle of Wilderness; ex-confederate soldier; suffers from the memories of war.

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