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The Eden Hunter: A Novel
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The Eden Hunter: A Novel

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  199 ratings  ·  52 reviews
In 1816, five years after being captured and sold into slavery, Kau, a pygmy tribesman, flees south into the Spanish Florida wilderness, determined to find a place where he can once again live in harmony with nature. Both haunted and driven by his memories of Africa, he embarks on an epic quest through the treacherous pinewoods, swamps, and river bottoms of the Southern fr ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published August 17th 2010 by Counterpoint
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Kayla Eason
Beyond the well imagined plot—stocked by extensive historical research on the author’s part, I’m sure—the main point I wish to highlight about Skip Horack’s The Eden Hunter is the prose style. Undoubtedly, The novel grips, and the immediacy of danger and haunting tension is thoughtfully magnified by the writing choices. The terse, simple, and quickly paced sentence structure sets the tone perfectly. More so, I read the prose as incredibly poetic, despite the unpoetic circumstances presented as w ...more
Philip Harris
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I read this historical novel because the book group at my local bookstore was discussing it and because the booksellers just thought it was wonderful. didn't work for me. The history is fascinating (1812 southern US) and I found some of the environment descriptions very evocative, but the story certainly didn't pull me along. In last night's discussion at book group, half the group LOVED the book and the other half really didn't enjoy it.
Chris Yun
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Gloria Jorgensen
The Eden Hunter by Skip Horack is a tightly written adventure novel. It tells, in a convincing story, of the life of a pygmy slave, brought from Africa, who finds himself fleeing from whites, Indians, blacks, through an unknown landscape, using his wits and intelligence to survive. The story intrigued me from the beginning and I could scarcely put the book down. I found myself moving with the main character, Kau, throughout, feeling his emotions, following his logic, going through his thoughts w ...more
This book was difficult to rate, where I wish there were half stars! The story rated a 4 or 4.5, however the writing style and direction the story went with left much to be desired and rated a 3. The story, of Kau, and his journey from Africa to American. Kau faces tragedy and travails as he makes his way alone through vast virgin forests, mountain ranges, and river passages, not to mention human predators, slave catchers and highway men.One couldn't help but love Kau, a Pygmy with sharpened tee ...more
Great read from start to finish. Right out of the gate the author places us in a suspenseful flight to safety for the escaped slave, all the while evoking details of a very specific place and time. History fans will appreciate the care with which the author presents the complex social, racial, governmental structures that existed in the pre-Civil War south of the North American continent. Naturalists will appreciate the precision of the author's language when identifying plants, animals, birds, ...more
I enjoyed the beginning of the book, and waited and waited for the story to go somewhere beyond the violence of man. Mostly I enjoyed picturing the animals that once roamed America.
Jesús Tapia
We are allowed to the see the world through the eyes of Kau, a pygmy hunter who has been a slave for a few years, undergoes a journey filled with danger, brutality, and love. From the first chapter we start with a bang as we see what Kau must do to survive. The book contains a lot of history elements and allows to see a world through unlikely eyes. Skip Horack teaches the risks involved when writing a novel about a subject that is both hard to express and when your own culture isn’t directly lin ...more
Jason Wimbish
The Eden Hunter is an interesting novel to attempt rating. Typically, I am not a fan of the subject matter of the story itself, and yet I managed to find this particularly work intriguing. Skip does a great job of subtlety pulling the reader down the rabbit hole and unapologetically dragging them from circumstance to circumstance behind the novel's main character, Kau. That is where The Eden Hunter really succeeds for me. The writing style is not for everyone, but I found it to work well with th ...more
Amy L. Campbell
Note: received free copy from publisher's booth at ALA 2010.

This receives a waffle between two and three stars.

This starts off as a very strong novel and somehow manages to unravel somewhere between the last half and the last 2/3rds. I was convinced that this was going to be a commentary on the brutality of man and how slavery creates brutes on both sides. If that was the goal I don't feel like it was quite achieved. The narrative is good, but then the plot comes in and mucks about and seems to
Mike Burgess
The Eden Hunter was a stumbled-upon gem from the local thrift shop (subtle nod to Macklemore/Ryan Lewis.) It is the violent, emotionally charged story of the anti-hero Kau. Horack has created a bleak and exceptionally vivid portrait of a world inhabited by people. Not "good" people. Not "bad" people. Just people. Bias, racial injustice and senseless violence is prevalent throughout. The writing transports you back to a period in American history of which I am justifiably ashamed, and yet the aut ...more
Amy Bailey
I was very pleasantly surprised by this book. I found it on the new arrivals shelf of the local library and thought it seemed very interesting. It certainly was! It is the story of Kau, an African pygmy who is stolen from his homeland and sent to America to be a slave. The story follows his escape and journey through Florida after the War of 1812, a period in history that isn't often explored through fiction. This book is a stunning and real portrait of the cruel and tragic world that is the Ame ...more
This story was a compelling account of Kau's struggle to escape slavery, and the prose was intense and masterfully written. That said, I felt that the character of Kau needed more depth, and that the third person portrayal lacked an intimacy that at times pulled me out of the story. Just the same, I found the subject matter fascinating and recommend this story to anyone who enjoys reading historical fiction.

I'm quoting myself from my review of Horack's last book, The Southern Cross: "Skip's a friend, so I suppose I should admit to bias. But I know that I would love this collection even if I stumbled on it blind."

The same goes for The Eden Hunter. I would have loved this novel no matter who wrote it. The protagonist Kau, a pygmy tribesman captured and brought to the US in the early 1800s, is completely compelling. The plot, as Kau travels across states on his way to Florida, rolls along at the perfe
The writing seems very plain and matter-of-fact, probably much like Kau thinks. It paints a pretty raw picture of life, quite likely very much like life actually was in that time in that place for those people. There is quite understated emotion from Kau, although the ending gently highlights his underlying emotional strength. I felt very satisfied by the ending. While I was reading it, I couldn't imagine how the author would end the book, but it's perfect. I think it brought out Kau's true char ...more
As a reader of historical fiction I enjoyed this story.
The story is narrated from the pov of Kau, an African Pygmy, who was enslaved for 5 years before he has a chance to escape. The book starts in Africa before Kau was captured so you understand who he is based on his life experiences and his culture.
I thought that the book did a good job of capturing the essence of Kau and the his way of life and that his journey was about him finding a place in America where he could re-capture of bit of his
Clay Hamilton
The writing is wonderful, the emotions rich and complex, and the setting is an odd and little-known period of American history. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book about Kau, a pygmy captured in Africa and sent to America as a slave. He escapes to Florida where he tries to regain a semblance of his old life. This is the Florida of the years following the War of 1812, though. It isn't American territory yet, but it's not really Spanish or British either. The state exists in the lull before the ...more
I don't know if I liked this book. I am not sorry I read it. The writing was good - the author made me see what he was writing. The story is based on real events. Other than the references to the war of 1812 and some slave rebellions, I am not sure what was real and what was not. A compelling and violent story told through an African Pygmy who is captured by slavers and brought to America. Eventually he escapes and sets out to find a place to live that is like his home in Africa. He is fairly im ...more
Read it a few years ago, and was so intrigued by the story. Who would ever think about that time, in those places. I'll look for more by this author
Carolyn Tuttle
This book was too visceral for me. There was so much detail about how animals were hunted and killed in the 1830's American wilderness. There was also a lot of detail about how humans were tortured by American Indians, the British, slave owners, etc. There were no emotions by the characters, so often you were left wondering why a decision was made or why something was said or done.

This book was the author's debut novel. The historical accuracy is interesting and the story is solid but there is
Sarah Wagner
This novel presents a fascinating story of a man born in Africa, sold into slavery, who escapes his owner in America and flees to Spanish-owned Florida in the early 1800s, where he encounters a fort manned by runaway slaves intent on defending their freedom. However, this effort is undermined by opposing American forces and leads to disaster for many of the former slaves. While this novel offers a vivid picture of nature, history, and the events, the writing failed to truly draw me into the stor ...more
I got into this book right away as the beginning is emotional and exciting. As soon as the main action of the book started, however, I found myself emotionally disconnecting and feeling lost in the mire of the adventure story that at times moved too fast and had too many not-quite fleshed-out characters. I got back into it at the end, which I thought was the best part of the whole book. Overall, I was disappointed that I didn't feel more connected to the characters and the main adventure portion ...more
"The Eden Hunter" is a novel that was reccommended to me by another author. I decided one good writer would lead me to some more well written novels. It is a period of history that comes alive with facts about the area where we have retired and even the indian tribes living there and fort left abandoned to be run by runaway slaves. The talent of the author in bringing to life, Kau, the pygmy tribesman will touch you with the raw emotion and infuriate you with some of Kau's choices. You will not ...more
Interesting book on a time in history you don't read to much about....Spanish Florida after the War of 1812. A pygmy tribesman is captured in Africa and taken to the South where he escapes after 5 years of captivity. Good descriptive writing of the animals in the area while he is on the run as well as the Indians he encounters. A lot of the cruel stuff humans did to each other. We'd all last about 10 minutes under these conditions! Overall, good writing style even though the middle of the book d ...more
I was combing my local library shelves for something interesting to read and saw this book with a pygmy on the front cover. I love books that have to do with Africa and China. Sounded interesting and brought it with me on my "reading" vacation. It's the story of a pygmy man who is has a family, is a slave, and the story of his escape and his dreams. It also is historical in that it speaks of the war of 1812 in America. You really get a feel of what it must have been like in the South during that ...more
Chris Teel
This story latched on from the first page and didn't let go. Some authors can't hold your interest while flashing back and forth from present to past and back again, but this was not the case. I was somewhat reminded of Blood Meridian with the simple, straightforward descriptions of battle, albeit on a small scale, combined with the movement of the main character from one event to another with seemingly no hope in sight. The fact that this was a debut novel is promising.
Adam Johnson
I've been meaning to write a review of this beautiful and timeless book for a while. I was a big fan of Horack's story Collection The Southern Cross, which won the Bakeless Prize. Novels that are based on research hold a special place in my heart, and this one really delivers. The natural beauty, culture and cruelty of the early 19th century are wonderfully brought to life through Kau, an African Pygmy making his way through the American south. Highly recommended.
I always say I am done with American Slave novels...I've read enough of them for a lifetime. However, something intrigued me about this book, so I picked it up. If you like the genre, you will love this book. Well researched, well written, very moving. A thoroughly good read. Like all slave books, though, be prepared for your share of brutality and horribleness. I need something funny next....
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bob from Novel class 1 3 Sep 03, 2014 10:28AM  
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