cover image The Dark Heart of Every Wild Thing

The Dark Heart of Every Wild Thing

Joseph Fasano. Platypus, $18 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-1-913007-07-2

Poet Fasano (Fugue for Other Hands) makes a winning fiction debut with a violent account of grief and revenge. The book opens with a father and young son embarking on a hunt for a mountain lion in the wilderness of British Columbia. Along the way, the hunters become the hunted, and the boy is killed by their intended prey. Already reeling from the recent death of his wife in an accident, the father falls deeper into despair. Three years after the death of his son, he returns to pursue the mountain lion, obsessed with revenge, but an encounter with the beast leaves him wounded and fighting for survival. Fasano’s beautiful, harrowing novel occupies the space between desire and despair through vivid, harrowing descriptions of the father’s perspective on nature, with “kestrels calling above the spruces, bowing the foxes down in the meadows, and the sharp and unmistakable screech of a goshawk, its voice like a gull thrashing in a net far out to sea.” In a narrative simultaneously poetic and horrific, Fasano explores the unforgiving nature of the wild world while illuminating the sorrow and guilt that drive the man to extreme measures.Precise and evocative, this is an outstanding novel. (Sept.)