Mr. Wahlquist in Yellowstone

Douglas Thayer, Author Peregrine Smith Books $7.95 (154p) ISBN 978-0-87905-339-0
White men at loose ends in the Wild West encounter far worse threats than hostile Indians in Thayer's ( Summer Fire ) collection of short fiction. Above all, they fear nature, which seems to turn against those who love it most. ``I've seen men go completely nuts after a year or two of living alone up one of these canyons,'' attests the sheriff in ``The Gold Mine.'' ``They stop eatin' any decent food, and then they stop talking. After that they hide back in those old mine shafts, only coming out at night like owls.'' The author's ease with narrative permits stories to progress simultaneously in past and present--the young forest ranger in the title story recalls his friendship with Mr. Wahlquist as he searches for Wahlquist's body; in ``Dolf'' the narrator attempts to escape the Blackfoot hunters who have already killed his cousin, all the while mulling over past arguments about his cousin's desire to camp ``where no white man had ever trapped.'' A meditative calm prevails despite shattering events; though heroic actions may prove manhood, the emotions surrounding them are what endure. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/06/1989
Release date: 07/01/1989
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