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Extended Audio Sample Gone Feral: Tracking My Dad Through the Wild, by Novella Carpenter Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Novella Carpenter Narrator: Soneela Nankan Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Gone Feral 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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Carpenter’s engaging blend of memories, intimate descriptions of uncomfortable visits with her father, conversations with her family friends…provides a solid foundation for her narrative. Carpenter’s candid appraisal of her metamorphosis from daughter to mother, coupled with a probing examination of the boundaries of parental love will be applauded by both fans and those unfamiliar with her work.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • A Library Journal Best Book of 2014
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About the Author
Author Novella Carpenter

Novella Carpenter is the author of the bestselling Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer and is the coauthor of The Essential Urban Farmer. She lives and farms in Oakland, California, with her partner, Billy, and their daughter, Francis.