Half Wild: Book summary and reviews of Half Wild by Robin MacArthur

Half Wild

Stories

by Robin MacArthur

Half Wild by Robin MacArthur X
Half Wild by Robin MacArthur
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  • Published Aug 2016
    224 pages
    Genre: Short Stories

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Book Summary

A powerfully authentic new literary voice debuts with stories that carve out a distinctive vision of the wildness and beauty of rural Vermont.

Spanning nearly forty years, the stories in Robin MacArthur's formidable debut give voice to the hopes, dreams, hungers, and fears of a diverse cast of Vermonters—adolescent girls, aging hippies, hardscrabble farmers, disconnected women, and solitary men. Straddling the border between civilization and the wild, they all struggle to make sense of their loneliness and longings in the stark and often isolating enclaves they call home—golden fields and white-veiled woods, dilapidated farmhouses and makeshift trailers, icy rivers and still lakes rouse the imagination, tether the heart, and inhabit the soul.

In "Creek Dippers," a teenage girl vows to escape the fate that has trapped her eccentric, rough-living mother. "Maggie in the Trees" explores the aftershocks of a man who surrenders to his passion for a wild, damaged woman—his longtime friend's partner. In "God's Country," an elderly woman is unexpectedly reminded of a forbidden youthful passion and the chance she did not take. Returning to her childhood house when her mother falls ill, a daughter grapples with her own sense of belonging in "The Women Where I'm From."

In striking prose powerful in its clarity and purity, MacArthur effortlessly renders characters cleaved to the land that has defined them—men and women, young and old, whose lives are inextricably intertwined with one another and tied to the fierce and beautiful natural world that surrounds them.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"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." - Publishers weekly

"A promising debut and admirable survey of adolescent and middle-aged crises in rough country." - Kirkus Reviews

"Move over Annie Proulx, Raymond Carver, and Flannery O'Connor. Make room for Vermont's own Robin MacArthur. Half Wild is American fiction, and American literature, at its very best." - Howard Frank Mosher, author of Where the Rivers Flow North and God's Kingdom

"MacArthur writes with the ear of a musician and a classic, pure command of the short story form, like a dispatch from Eudora Welty in the great north woods." - Megan Mayhew Bergman, author of Birds of a Lesser Paradise and Almost Famous Women

"Half Wild... made me feel a bittersweet nostalgia for all the possible lives I could have led. This is a beautiful and emotionally rich book and it casts a big spell." - Diane Cook, author of Man V. Nature

"Feral, wise, deft, elegant, luminous, Robin MacArthur's stories inhabit a reader with shimmering wonder." - Rick Bass, author of All The Land to Hold Us

"Robin MacArthur is a striking new voice and Half Wild is a stormy marvel of a debut." - Laura van den Berg, author of Find Me and The Isle of Youth

This information about Half Wild was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Robin MacArthur

Robin MacArthur lives on the hillside where she was born in Marlboro, Vermont with her husband and two young children. She is the author of Half Wild, the editor of Contemporary Vermont Fiction, and one half of the indie-folk duo Red Heart the Ticker. Her work has appeared in Orion Magazine, Hunger Mountain, Whole Terrain, Shenandoah, Alaska Quarterly and on NPR. You can read more of her work at www.themmornings.com.

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