By Robert J. Wiersema
Chizine Publications, Toronto, 2009
A spellbinding novella by a Canadian author new to me.
11-year-old Brian lives with his divorced father, Jeff, in a house next to the woods. His mother, Diane, is living in Vancouver and has decided Brian needs to come and live with her.
Each day Brian spends more and more time in the woods behind his house until one night he doesn’t come home at all. The search parties are called and Jeff begins to remember a time when he disappeared into the woods. He begins to remember what he found there. His thoughts start to unravel, finally coming to an understanding of what has happened.
The story is like fantasy but is not really fantasy. It is more like a dream. Wiersema’s writing is cool and clear, a stream deep in the woods. I remember walking in places like this, hearing the sounds, feeling the brush of cedar against my arm, slowing down and seeing .
The coyotes were almost the same sandy brown colour as the ground. If he hadn’t slowed to look, he wouldn’t have seen them. If he hadn’t quieted, he would have woken them and they would have slipped away, unseen and unknown.
He was suddenly acutely aware of how much poorer his life would have been had he never seen them. From page 31/32.
This book is a mysterious gem. There is a wonderful essay called “Places & Names” at the end. The jacket artwork, by Erik Mohr, is stunning. I am happy that I was able to support the publisher and the author by buying the book directly from Chizine.