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The Wolf Road: A Novel af Beth Lewis
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The Wolf Road: A Novel (udgave 2016)

af Beth Lewis (Forfatter)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
4289844,267 (3.92)27
Taught to hunt, shoot, and survive in the remote wilds of a ravaged land by the man who adopted her after finding her wandering in the woods as a young child, Elka reflects on the catastrophic events that destroyed civilization more than a century earlier before gradually realizing that her father may be a serial killer.… (mere)
Medlem:joyfiction
Titel:The Wolf Road: A Novel
Forfattere:Beth Lewis (Forfatter)
Info:Crown (2016), 368 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:
Nøgleord:Ingen

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The Wolf Road af Beth Lewis

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Viser 1-5 af 98 (næste | vis alle)
"The Wolf Road" does a lot of trope twisting - part "True Grit" western, part post-apocalyptic quest, part "Call of the Wild", part Huck Finn with a more traumatic childhood - and it does it well - making the familiar feel new and the new feel connected to something I understand - so that, if that was all it did, I'd have closed the book having had a great read.

But Beth Lewis achieves much more than that. She creates something quite rare: a character with a unique voice, who, in telling her story frankly, sharing her thoughts and emotions and cursing her own mistakes and failings, makes us rethink how we see the world and the choices we make.

"The Wolf Road" is told as first person account of events through the eyes of Elka, a seventeen year old woman who is almost feral. She lives in the wild by becoming part of it not by trying to tame it. She is another predator in the forest, moving soundlessly, killing efficiently, hiding her tracks and building shelters and making fires to keep herself safer at night. It is only when she has to deal with people and their rules and their written-down words that Elka is vulnerable.

The novel opens with Elka hunting a monstrous man: large, fierce and bloodied, in a snow-filled forest, marked with a trail of blood. Hiding in a tree, she throw her serrated knife with enough power to pass through the man beneath his collar bone and pin him to a tree. Then she leaves him, cursing behind her, knowing that the Sheriff will find him soon. The murdering monster she has pinned to the tree is the man who raised her from the age of seven and taught her how to move through the world.
Here's a sample from that scene:
"I sat high, oak branch 'tween my knees, and watched the tattooed man stride about in the snow. Pictures all over his face, no skin left no more, just ink and blood. Looking for me, he was. Always looking for me. He left red drops in the white, fallen from his fish knife. Not fish blood though. Man blood. Boy blood. Lad from Tucket lost his scalp to that knife. Scrap of hair and pink hung from the man's belt. That was dripping too, hot and fresh. He'd left the body in the thicket for the wolves to find."
Most of the rest of the novel tells us how this came to be.

On the surface, the book is a picaresque novel, following an outcast as she makes her way across the country, running from her enemies and constantly under threat from the people she meets.

Underneath, the structure of "The Wolf Road" is more complicated. It isn't about Elka's adventures. It's about Elka coming to understand who she is and how she got to be that way.

Elka has a childhood she only partly allows herself to remember. The man who raised her isolated her, shaping her to be a weapon in the wilderness. He set her on The Wolf Road, being more predator that person. Elka has to come to terms with her past and decide for herself the Road she will walk. She knows herself well-enough to understand that the man saw something of himself in her that was already there and that it is an essential part of who she is. She doesn't accept that that is all she is.

Uneducated and illiterate, Elka is intelligent, observant and given to introspection. She is building her own code to live by. She believes it's wrong to kill a man who isn't trying to kill you. She believes that she is accountable for everything she's ever done. She believes in living in the here and now and dealing with what's in front of you.

"The Wolf Road" takes place after our world has been broken by "The Big Stupid" which destroyed cities, created irradiated wastelands, tripped a climate change where storms are too fierce to stand against and killed most of the people.

The result is that the civilisation that Elka encounters when she leaves the forest is a raw one where trust is hard to come by and the law only exists if someone with a gun chooses to enforce it. In a way, this entire world is on its own "Wolf Road", balancing survival and compassion, choosing to be better than they have to be.

In some ways. this made Elka more normal. She is far from the only person finding her way in this world.

There is a lot of violence and nastiness in the novel. Elka seems repeatedly to meet despicable people who try to do very bad things to her and often succeed. None of this is sugar-coated and some of the scenes make grim reading.

There is love, of a kind, in this book but it is not the soft-focus romantic kind. It is the kind that comes from knowing someone will spill their blood for you.

Elka is not a hero. She's not a devil either. She is a brave young woman who bears the scars of a life hard-lived, who knows herself to be capable of doing terrible things, who expects no mercy and who, if she allows herself to hope at all, wishes for nothing more than a peaceful life.

I will remember Elka for a long time.

I selected "The Wolf Road" because the audiobook version is read by one of my favourite narrators, Amy McFadden. She captures Elka perfectly, making the book a pleasure to listen to. Click on the SoundCloud link below to hear her read the passage I've already quoted (plus a little bit more).

https://soundcloud.com/harperaudio/the-wolf-road-by-beth-lewis ( )
  MikeFinnFiction | May 16, 2020 |
"You trap a wolf and he's going to snarl and rip you up 'till he can get free, but once he's out there, treading his own path in the snow, you ain't got much to fear 'less you provoke him." The Wolf Road is no walk in the park. It's a dark, raw take on one girls survival in a post-apocalyptic world. It was so captivating I didn't want to put it down.

Elka has spent the last ten years living in the woods with Trapper, a man who took her in when she was 7 years old after she lost her Nana and her home to a thunderhead. She thinks of him as her daddy. Everything she knows about survival is thanks to him. One day a trip to a nearby town shatters her entire worldview. She finds out that he's really a man named Kreager Hallet who is wanted for the murder of multiple women and one child.
Hoping to put as much distance as she can between herself and Trapper she begins the long trek to Halveston to find her long-lost parents armed with nothing more than a knife. Little does she know at the start of her journey...Trapper isn't ready to let her go.

I have to say, Elka is one of the best narrators I've come across in a while and the way her character evolves over the course of the story was amazing to read.
"Ain't no monster. Monsters ain't real 'cept in kids' imaginations, under the beds, in the closets. We live in a world a' men and there ain't no good come out of tellin' them they monsters. Makes 'em think they ain't done nothin' wrong, that it's their nature and they can't do nothin' to change that. Callin' 'em a monster makes 'em somethin' different from the rest of us, but they ain't." The Wolf Road is one beautiful yet twisted story that you won't want to miss.

ARC provided by Penguin's First to Read program.
( )
  maebri | Mar 10, 2020 |
I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. I am always a little wary of books that are narrated in the first person and don't use proper grammar - it can feel a little gimmicky or folksy - but this author managed to use it to her advantage. The reader cannot forget that the protagonist is uneducated and unworldly; the way she speaks is a constant reminder. For a protagonist that is so isolated, it also manages to stay interesting. I would recommend it to people who enjoy works that depict alternate realities and futures. ( )
  jekka | Jan 24, 2020 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

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A serial killer raising a young orphan girl in a post apocalyptic landscape? You’ve already got me sucked in! The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis was one of the books I have been most excited about reading this year and it certainly lived up to the hype! This book was absolutely, devastatingly amazing. Cruel, yet oddly uplifting.

The book gives you a glimpse at the end, then turns back to show you how everything unraveled to that point. Elka, who never really remembers her name, is a young adult/late teenager but still seems young in mind. Her arrested development likely comes from the fact that she was raised by Trapper, a serial killer with a reason behind his killings. What’s that reason? I think most can guess what it is pretty early on, but I won’t spoil it here.

Elka narrates the book and we see early on just how unreliable she can be as a narrator. She can’t even remember her birth name. She says she never knew that Trapper was a murderer, yet she believed it once she was told and knows she went on a hunt once with him, to catch a deer. The fact that everyone but Elka realizes certain things, such as “why” (or as close to why as we can get) Trapper kills, and why Trapper decides to keep Elka alive and raise her, when she can’t is so tragically sad. We see her mind slowly unravel as the psychogenic amnesia begins to wear off the farther away she gets from Trapper, or better said, the closer he gets to her. Once she breaks down all of the mental barriers she has set up, the end result is heartbreaking and cruel to where the reader only wants to do what Penelope does, hug her, hold her, and tell her it’s okay. YOU’RE OKAY.

Beth Lewis does an amazing job of explaining the story and what happened to this fractured world Elka is a part of while still remaining true to Elka’s voice. The Damn Stupid. Sudden “thunderheads” that are like tornadoes picking apart everything in its path and throwing it like a toddler does his toys. A cold war gone nuclear and survivors living in the aftermath as best they can. Lewis creates this broken world that feels so real, you can almost hear the crunch of the snow as people trudge through it and see the fog of breath escape. It’s such a vivid landscape, yet as I said earlier, it all remains true to Elka’s voice. None of it sounds like the author interposing herself suddenly in the story, unless it’s via other characters, such as Penelope.

The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis is an absolutely tremendous post-apocalyptic novel. If you’ve read The Road, by Cormac McCarthy, the feeling you get reading The Wolf Road seems almost opposite. In McCarthy’s work, you feel that somehow things will be okay and it isn’t maybe as dark until you get further in, whereas The Wolf Road, you immediately have a sense of dread, knowing what will happen to the protagonist/antihero and sincerely cannot imagine it ending well at all.

// I received this title for free in exchange for an honest review // ( )
  heylu | Jan 8, 2020 |
I didn’t really know what I was getting into when I started The Wolf Road, but once it started going I couldn’t stop! And to be honest, I’m surprised more attention hasn’t been given to the book’s “Western” vibe, as that really deserves to be front and center. Out of the novel’s many strengths, its harsh and gritty frontier-like atmosphere was what really stood out—a definite plus for me, considering there’s certainly no shortage of post-apocalyptic settings in the speculative fiction arena.

The Wolf Road features a world ravaged by war. As a little girl, protagonist Elka learned from her Nana about the “Big Damn Stupid”—the catastrophic event that destroyed everything and set human civilization back to zero. Technology and modern comforts are gone now, along with any kind of social infrastructure or protection. It’s everyone for themselves in the northern wilderness where Elka lives, and what’s left of the law here is swift and merciless in delivering justice to criminals and delinquents.

One day when Elka was seven years old though, she found herself lost and alone in the woods. Against all odds, she was rescued and taken in by a man known only as “Trapper”. He sheltered Elka, when he could have turned away and left her to die. For the next ten years he took care of her, and even taught her how to hunt and to trap and to survive off the land. And in time, Elka came to see Trapper as her father.

However, all that safety and happiness about to be ripped away. On a fateful trip into town, Elka discovers that the man who had raised her for the last decade is not who she always thought he was. Trapper turns out to be a serial murderer wanted by the law, and unfortunately for Elka, her close association with him makes her an accomplice. The law is now after her in the form of a ruthless magistrate named Lyon, a hard woman who will stop at nothing to apprehend her prey. And now that Elka is aware of his true identity, the man she used to call her father is coming after her as well, determined not to leave loose ends.

I don’t know what I expected when I first picked up The Wolf Road, but it really hooked me in from the start. First of all, this is a unique novel that encompasses a number of genre elements, making it a bit hard to categorize. While it doesn’t have the breakneck pace of a thriller, the suspense is so thick it’s almost palpable. The post-apocalyptic setting is also unusual in that it downplays the typical themes of technological collapse and life afterwards in the crumbling cities. Instead, we’re deep in the wilderness, focusing on the remnants of a rural population that has reverted to way of life last seen in the mid-1800s, complete with their own Gold Rush! Lone travelers have to guard themselves against wolves and bears, as well as the predators of a more human sort like scammers, murders, and sex traffickers. Throw in poison lakes, the sudden and devastating weather changes, and all the other lasting effects of the Big Damned Stupid, and you have yourself a fascinating mix.

Elka herself is an intriguing character, a product of her unconventional upbringing. She’s tough and independent, but having spent her whole life in the woods, Elka is also understandably a little naïve and all too trusting when she heads out into the world by herself. While her guilelessness does get her into all sorts of trouble, on the bright side it also leads her to an unlikely friendship. Elka meets Penelope, the daughter of a well-to-do doctor, and though the two young women cannot be any more different, they quickly become family to each other. Gradually, their stories are revealed to us, and that’s when the realization really hits you just how dramatically things have changed in this world. Survival in this post-apocalypse can take many forms, and each individual adapts by playing to their strengths. Together, Elka and Penelope make a great team by combining their skills.

Also, no matter who you are or where you come from, everyone in this world has their secrets. In order to understand Elka, we also have to take in account the tricky relationship she has with Trapper, a man she can’t help but still think of as her father, even though she knows he is a killer. The Wolf Road portrays the different relationships very well, but given Elka’s history, there’s also an element of the unreliable narrator to contend with, and I think that’s where the story stumbled for me a little. I can’t go into any more detail due to risk of spoilers, but I can say that fortunately, this issue only cropped up for me near the end of the book, and the twist didn’t affect my overall experience too much.

Bottom line, The Wolf Road is an outstanding novel, incredibly well-written and carried out with impressive finesse. I loved the atmosphere of this world, and the people in it feel fully fleshed out, brought to life with strikingly vivid imagery and realistic characterization. This was one great read. ( )
  stefferoo | Apr 10, 2019 |
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Taught to hunt, shoot, and survive in the remote wilds of a ravaged land by the man who adopted her after finding her wandering in the woods as a young child, Elka reflects on the catastrophic events that destroyed civilization more than a century earlier before gradually realizing that her father may be a serial killer.

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