The Loop

Nicholas Evans, Author Delacorte Press $25.95 (448p) ISBN 978-0-385-31700-9
Fans of Evans's bestselling debut, The Horse Whisperer, may find that this issue-oriented follow-up is a case of deja vu. Montana is again the setting, animals are crucial to the plot and a love story between dissimilar people is the heart-tugger. The bitter debate over the reintroduction of wolves into the American West provides the hook. After the book opens with the killing of a family dog by a stray wolf, the battle lines are quickly and clearly drawn. The wolf-hating cowboys are led by quintessential alpha male Buck Calder, the region's biggest rancher, bully and philanderer. Primary opposition comes from wolf biologist Helen Ross, a despised Easterner hired to keep the wolves safe from ranchers and more selective about their predation. She eventually teams up--professionally and romantically--with Calder's stuttering, insecure son Luke, much to his father's disgust. This underplayed romance is nicely done, as is the burgeoning revolt within the Calder household by Luke and Eleanor, Buck's surprisingly self-possessed wife. But Evans once again shows himself capable of graceless writing. As if preparing for the inevitable casting call, detailed character studies occupy large portions of the initial 100 pages, preempting later, subtler disclosures. His passages on wolf behavior read like mediocre nature film scripts. The novel is more a work of ideology than imagination. Among its overt messages: man is out of sync with nature; the New West is full of lonely, emotionally scarred people licking their wounds; and wolves make better alpha males than humans do. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club main selection; author tour. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 01/04/1999
Release date: 01/01/1999
Genre: Fiction
Prebound-Other - 978-0-613-21928-0
Mass Market Paperbound - 560 pages - 978-0-440-22462-4
Paperback - 489 pages - 978-0-7515-3937-0
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-553-50210-7
Hardcover - 978-0-385-32874-6
Paperback - 672 pages - 978-0-7862-1634-5
Compact Disc - 978-0-553-45564-9
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-553-47880-8
Hardcover - 672 pages - 978-0-7862-1633-8
Hardcover - 978-0-440-29569-3
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