cover image Half Wild

Half Wild

Robin MacArthur. Ecco, $24.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-06-244439-4

With lush and loving attention to detail, MacArthur’s collection of 11 stories covers 40 years of life in rural Vermont. In “Maggie in the Trees,” a man looks back on a romance with a troubled, passionate woman, who also happens to be married to his best friend. In “Karmann,” perhaps the most memorable story, a teenager is in love with her best friend’s older brother, who is deployed in Vietnam. In “The Women Where I’m From,” a woman returns to her hometown to care for a sick mother and reunites tentatively with old friends. Loneliness, lost loves, dilapidated trailers, parties littered with empty beer cans, and women running through the woods all feature prominently throughout the book. Though the protagonists in each story are certainly different—hippies, farmers, young girls, old women—they can tend to blur together. Still, MacArthur is able to render complicated situations precisely and depict tenderness and harshness with an equally deft hand. (Aug.)