In this debut story collection, Wink stakes his bold claim to Big Sky literary territory, the terrain of Thomas McGuane, Norman Maclean, and Jim Harrison. Most of the stories feature men who find themselves in sticky situations, providing surprises for readers. In the title story, a sawmill worker goes on the run with a dog he has taken from a local businessman. A teacher from Montana with a problematic love life vacations in Texas, where he impulsively takes a job working on a ranch (“Exotics”). A college dropout training to be an EMT falls in love with an older woman with two children (“Runoff”). In “One More Last Stand,” a Little Bighorn reenactor playing the part of Custer has an affair with a Crow Tribe woman who plays his killer on the battlefield. In “Off the Track,” a young man sent to prison for manslaughter inherits his grandfather’s house and the memories it contains. And in the longest and best story, “In Hindsight,” the author charts the history of a veterinary assistant who, nearing the end of her long life, learns it’s never too late to find grace. A fly-fishing guide in Montana, Wink suffuses every page with his love of the land. No matter what their circumstances, he never condescends to his characters, who all suffer from longings that cause them to make decisions they don’t quite understand. But through the transparency of his writing, at once delicate and brutally precise, the author gifts us with the wonderful feeling of knowing someone you’ve only met in a book. Agent: Peter Steinberg, Steinberg Agency. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 11/09/2015 Release date: 02/09/2016 Genre: Fiction
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.