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3.89  ·  Rating details ·  1,228 Ratings  ·  255 Reviews
Thirty years after the Civil War's Battle of the Wilderness left him maimed, Abel Truman has found his way to the edge of the continent, the rugged, majestic coast of Washington State, where he lives alone in a driftwood shack with his beloved dog. Wilderness is the story of Abel, now an old and ailing man, and his heroic final journey over the snowbound Olympic Mountains. ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published September 4th 2012 by Bloomsbury USA (first published 2012)
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Jeffrey Keeten
Jun 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jeffrey by: Diana Barnes
”The shack creaked softly with the wind while the tide hissed all along the dark and rocky shore. The moon glowed full from amidst the rain clouds, casting a hard light that slid like grease atop the water. The old man watched ivory curlers far to sea rise and subside noiselessly. Within the bounds of his little cove stood sea stacks weirdly canted from the wind and the waves. Tide-gnawed remnants of antediluvian islands and eroded coastal headlands, the tall stones stood monolithic and forbiddi ...more
In 1899 an old man leaves his shack and heads to the mountains on his final journey, taking his beloved dog as well as his old Winchester, a walking stick, a blanket roll and his haversack. What is it that compels him to leave his his few comforts to travel into the wilderness? This is how it came about:
”“I was out front of my shack where I lived,” said Abel, choosing words carefully. “I like to sit and watch the ocean of an evening. The way the tide comes in and the different colors the sun p
Oct 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ever since reading "Cold Mountain" I have been trying to find a book like it, not especially the romance part of that book but the adventure that the main character had when he walked home from the Civil War. I finally found it in this one.

Weller's writing is reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy's, but a McCarthy with emotions. I can read McCarthy and not feel much for what the characters are going through, whereas, Weller's writing makes me feel the pain and the sorrow of all involved. This has to b
Aug 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
In a word: Wow. Hard as it is to believe, Lance Weller's WILDERNESS, polished and accomplished, is listed as a debut novel. If you love literary fiction, enjoy reading a writer's writer, and have an affinity for Civil War literature, you can't do better than this.

This is the story of Abel Truman, a veteran of the Civil War, an odd sort of Everyman who hails from New York yet fights for the South because he is in North Carolina during the outbreak of hostilities. The chapters alternate between 18
Diane Barnes
Jun 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book gets 5 stars because I just finished reading it and I am still in awe of Lance Weller's talent. Wow! His first novel, Wow! His masterful descriptions of both nature and battle scenes, Wow! His characters, maimed and wounded both physically and emotionally, but still able function in the world and maintain their own goodness, drove me to tears more than once. And his decriptions of Gettysburg and the battle of the Wilderness drove home the reality and sadness of the Civil War like nothi ...more
Sep 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Erwin by: Jeffrey Keeten
A wonderful and sad story of an old soldier and his dog companion going on a quest. We get flashbacks to his soldiering days in the Civil War (the battle of the Wilderness 1864). The images from the front lines are very much "alive". The story itself is very well written. I didn't have a lot of time lately to read for long hours at a time so I had to put this book away (too) many times before finishing it. Yet every time I opened the book to read another few pages I was immediately drawn in. I w ...more
Sep 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I've thinking lately about the term "literary fiction". It's a kind of an elusive term - but generally it is used to denote a certain quality to the way the book is written, to the care given to the sentences, as when they make you pause or suddenly see something new or something old in a new way. There's a presence you detect in literary fiction - the unhurried presence of an author who has taken as much time as he needs and given the book a chunk of his flesh. This book is literary fiction at ...more
Aug 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
My recent interview with Lance Weller can be read @

This novel was storytelling rich in setting and characters amidst days of the civil war.
The author writes with some wonderful prose and eloquently words in the right places reminiscent of the writings of Hemingway and Cormac McCarthy in style of writing at times. You will read sentences that really describe well the setting, the terrible and the beauty of the world contained within these pa
Melissa Crytzer Fry
May 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I’ll start with this: Wilderness is THE book I’ve been waiting for this year. In fact, if I could give it more than five stars, I would. Without a doubt, it is among my all-time favorite reads, so rich is it in sensory detail and drinkable prose.

The title of the book, alone, spoke to my natural sensitivities: Wilderness. You learn early on that the title has double meaning and a symbolic significance that influences the story of Abel Truman … an old man alone, reclusive, with no one in the worl
Krista Stevens
First I loved the prose - so lyrical. Then I grew a little tired of that. Then I grew more tired of the relentless sorrow and suffering (and I love "The Road" so that tells you something) and violence that Abel encounters in his long life from being a husband/father/Civil War soldier and veteran. At every turn, he is abused by one or another of nasty characters or fate. I actually stopped reading half way through, then read through Goodreads reviews and picked it up again and was able to finish ...more
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“It knew these things the same way a dog knows well the heart of the man it loves and understands it in better ways than the man could ever hope.” 12 likes
“I'm American. Like I told you. And I'm American and not something else because they failed that day. They couldn't do it and most of them probably knew they couldn't do it before they even started, but they went anyhow. There's honor in that. I don't reckon there's much honor left in the world now, but they had it that day and I honor them on both sides by knowing what I can about it. Much as I can.” 2 likes
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