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Extended Audio Sample The Wilding Audiobook, by Benjamin Percy Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (470 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Benjamin Percy Narrator: Anthony Heald Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2010 ISBN: 9781455199839
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This is a powerful debut novel set in a threatened western landscape, from the award-winning author of Refresh, Refresh.

Echo Canyon is a disappearing pocket of wilderness outside Bend, Oregon, and the site of conflicting memories for Justin Caves and his father, Paul. It’s now slated for redevelopment as a golfing resort. When Paul suggests one last hunting trip, Justin accepts, hoping to get things right with his father, and agrees to bring along his son, Graham.

As the weekend unfolds, Justin is pushed to the limit by the reckless taunting of his father, the physical demands of the terrain, and the menacing evidence of the hovering presence of bear. All the while, he remembers the promise he made to his skeptical wife: to keep their son safe.

Benjamin Percy, a writer whose work Dan Chaon called “bighearted and drunk and dangerous,” shows his mastery of narrative suspense as the novel builds to its surprising climax. The Wilding shines unexpected light on our shifting relationship with nature and family in contemporary society.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Percy’s novel unabashedly invites comparison to James Dickey’s Deliverance (including an epigraph from that novel), but it stands on its own with its glittering prose.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • The Wilding is a compelling action narrative, universal in its dimensions while utterly grounded in specific particulars. Ben Percy is a stunning storyteller. His fearful wildernesses, both physical and psychic, kept me up through the night.”

    William Kittredge, author of Hole in the Sky

  • “Not your father’s eco-novel. In compelling, image-driven prose, Ben Percy confounds the old polarities about wilderness and development by sending three generations of men into a doomed canyon, and letting so much hell break loose we can’t tell the heroes from the villains—which feels exactly right. This is a dark, sly, honest, pleasing, slip-under-your-skin-and-stay-there kind of a book.”

    Pam Houston, bestselling author

  • “Benjamin Percy’s descriptive powers are so potent and evocative in this impressive debut that they sweep the reader out of his or her figurative armchair and into the Oregon wilderness, ready to fight to the death to preserve it.”

    Helen Schulman, author of A Day at the Beach

  • “Benjamin Percy’s The Wilding is a tour de force meditation and treatise on the nature of violence, the violence of nature, man in the wild, and the wild in man—cleverly disguised as a page-turning adventure. Not just a ‘must’ read, but a need read, this book is timely, terrifying, terrific.”

    Antonya Nelson, author of In the Land of Men

  • The Wilding is a virtuoso blend of beauty and violence, hope and despair, tough and touching, lust and terror, literary craft and genre plotting. Like James Dickey, Benjamin Percy drags his characters into the wilderness—into a canyon as black as a gaping mouth, where they struggle to stay alive and in control of what makes them human—but for a new generation of readers concerned with the vanishing West.”

    Danielle Trussoni, author of Angelology

  • “Percy’s excellent debut novel digs into the ambiguous American attitude toward nature as it oscillates between Thoreau’s romantic appreciation and sheer gothic horror…A taut plot and cast of deeply flawed characters…will keep readers rapt as peril descends and split-second decisions come to have lifelong repercussions. It’s as close as you can get to a contemporary Deliverance.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jennifer Munro | 2/15/2014

    " CREEPY! Justly compared to Deliverance (the book). "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Adam Kennedy | 2/9/2014

    " Perhaps the scariest book I have ever read. There is just this foreboding ominous presence. You are simply waiting for something bad to happen. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Heather | 2/8/2014

    " I don't think the Brian character had to be in the book at all. He is the 'bear' stealing from the golf carts at the end though, right? Do you thing Justin and Graham still go camping and hunting? Fav quote from this book: "beauty of development comes from the ruins of wilderness" "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stanley Dankoski | 2/5/2014

    " I started this awhile ago. My wife and I started reading it to each other. I can recognize elements that first appeared in the story collection, "Refresh, Refresh" but here they comprise a much more interesting, deeper story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nathan | 1/21/2014

    " What I learned from this book? Learn how to say no to your father. Also, never go into the woods alone. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ade | 1/17/2014

    " A detailed account of father, son and grandson going for a camping trip that went awry. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Anna | 1/5/2014

    " To be honest, I gave up. Not enough to hold my interest. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jliongrrrl | 1/3/2014

    " Not my kind of novel. The characters were unlikable and much of the book was uneventful. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Elise | 12/23/2013

    " So many metaphors. So little eloquence. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Caterina | 11/28/2013

    " This author might have promise - he can write an original, surprising sentence - but overall the book did not hold my interest and I did not finish it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Matt Athanasiou | 8/23/2013

    " Calm start. Tense finish. Swinging for home runs with every simile. I can get behind that. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah | 8/7/2013

    " Meh. There were two major motivating factors in my finishing this book. 1) Desire to go back to reading Big Machine, which I bought for our mini-vacation in Maine. 2) Refusal to add yet another book to the shelf of books I've started but been unable to finish since moving back to Pittsburgh. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ian Morgan | 4/23/2013

    " This damn book was very, very well written and thoughtful. But it is all buildup. The ending is dull and anti-climatic with way too many loose ends. I enjoyed the read until I discovered I was reading a 288 page preface. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bridget | 2/19/2013

    " I was surprised by Percy's lack of attention at the sentence level. Every word did not count. At the plot & character level, Percy spent too much time on the least interesting character. I felt like this book was rushed to press and craft wasn't the main focus. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sara | 2/14/2013

    " Finely wrought descriptions in nearly every sentence, lots of intense action and great characters. In fact, the only criticism I have is that maybe three descriptions out of the entire book seemed like they were reaching. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Laura | 12/27/2012

    " Meh. This book seems to want to be a movie but probably never will be because the much anticipated bear attack waits until there are about 20 pages left in the book to happen. The constant bird symbolism is also annoying. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Sonya | 6/21/2012

    " Reading this book made me feel tired, I didn't care about any of the characters, couldn't even finish it. Thumbs down. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joel Bruns | 8/5/2011

    " I liked the gloomy atmospheric writing, but the plot stalls intermittently. It will be interesting to see how Percy follows this up. I think he is a writer with a great deal of potential. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Michael Seidlinger | 7/9/2011

    " One day, the only way we'll be able to enjoy nature will be to buy National Geographic and BBC nature specials with calm, soothing narration by people like Morgan Freeman and David Attenborough. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jeremy | 5/30/2011

    " Gary Paulsen for adults!

    It is rather implausible for one family to run into a flaming owl, a savage bear, and a psycho Iraq vet all in one weekend.

    I bet Percy is very manly. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Puad | 5/23/2011

    " A detailed account of father, son and grandson going for a camping trip that went awry. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Elise | 5/7/2011

    " So many metaphors. So little eloquence. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Adam | 4/24/2011

    "
    Perhaps the scariest book I have ever read. There is just this foreboding ominous presence. You are simply waiting for something bad to happen. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Heather | 4/18/2011

    " I don't think the Brian character had to be in the book at all. He is the 'bear' stealing from the golf carts at the end though, right? Do you thing Justin and Graham still go camping and hunting? Fav quote from this book: "beauty of development comes from the ruins of wilderness" "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jason | 4/1/2011

    " Just excellent! Highly recommended. A novel about 3 generations of men. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Briann | 2/17/2011

    " very fast, fun read. Lots of danger lurking... "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jannie | 2/11/2011

    " This was an okay book. More of a "guy" book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lois | 2/11/2011

    " The suspsense really picked up about half-way through as "the beast" begins stalking the Grandfather - father and grandson. "

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About the Author
Benjamin Percy is the author of the novels Red Moon and The Wilding, and two short story collections, Refresh, Refresh and The Language of Elk. His writing has appeared in Esquire, GQ, Time, Tin House and elsewhere. His honors include the Pushcart Prize, an NEA grant, the Plimpton Prize for Fiction, and a Whiting Award. Raised in the high desert of central Oregon, he lives in Minnesota.
About the Narrator

Anthony Heald, an Audie Award–winning narrator, has earned Tony nominations and an Obie Award for his theater work; appeared in television’s Law & Order, The X-Files, Miami Vice, and Boston Public; and starred as Dr. Frederick Chilton in the 1991 Oscar-winning film The Silence of the Lambs. Heald has also won ten AudioFile Earphones Awards. He lives in Ashland, Oregon, with his family.