is Novella Carpenter’s search for her father. Back-to-the-land homesteader,
gifted classical guitarist, Korean War vet, hermit, and curmudgeon, George
Carpenter has been absent for most of his daughter’s life. But when he officially
goes missing—only to be found in a fleabag Arizona motel, escaping the brutal
Idaho winter—his daughter is forced to confront the truth: her time with her
father, now seventy-three years old, is limited, and the moment to restore
their relationship is now. Thus begins a journey of discovery that carries
Carpenter from her Oakland urban farm to her father’s ramshackle cabin on a
quest for connection that reveals who she is and where she came from.
The story starts in San
Miguel de Allende in 1969, where Carpenter’s free-spirited parents meet and
fall in love. Their whirlwind romance continues through Europe and ends on 180
acres near Idaho’s Clearwater River. Carpenter and her sister are born into a
free, roaming childhood, but soon the harsh reality of living on the
land—loneliness, backbreaking labor—tears the family apart. Carpenter’s mother
packs the girls and heads for the straight life in Washington State while
George remains on the ranch, tied to the land and his vision of freedom.
In Gone Feral, Carpenter—now a grown woman leading an untraditional
life, not unlike her parents’, raising livestock and growing vegetables in the
city—finds herself contemplating a family of her own. Before that can happen,
she knows she has to return to Orofino, Idaho to discover why her father chose
this life of solitude. She quickly finds that George is not living the
principled, romantic life she imagined, and the truth is more complicated—and
dangerous—than anything she suspected. As she comes to know the real George,
Carpenter looks to her own life and comes to recognize her father’s legacy in
their shared love of animals, of nature, and of the written word, and in their
dangerous stubbornness and isolating independence. In reckoning with her past,
Carpenter clears the road to her future.
Raw, funny, unsentimental,
alive with unforgettable characters and pitch-perfect dialogue, Gone Feral marks Carpenter’s transformative passage from daughter
to mother, a wry and rough tale of life lived on the margins and redemption
between generations. Download and start listening now!