Wilderness by Lance Weller
A Novel

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 3 Critic 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. It's a quest he has little hope of completing but still must undertake to settle matters of the heart that predate even the horrors of the war.

As Abel makes his way into the foothills, the violence he endures at the hands of two thugs after his dog is cross cut with his memories of the horrors of the war, the friends he lost, and the savagery he took part in and witnessed. And yet, darkness is cut by light, especially in the people who have touched his life-from Jane Dao-Ming Poole, the daughter of murdered Chinese immigrants, to Hypatia, an escaped slave who nursed him back to life, and finally the unbearable memory of the wife and child he lost as a young man. Haunted by tragedy, loss, and unspeakable brutality, Abel has somehow managed to hold on to his humanity, finding weigh stations of kindness along his tortured and ultimately redemptive path.

In its contrasts of light and dark, wild and tame, brutal and tender, and its attempts to reconcile a horrific war with the great evil it ended, Wilderness not only tells the moving tale of an unforgettable character, but a story about who we are as human beings, a people, and a nation. Lance Weller's immensely impressive debut immediately places him among our most talented writers.

About Lance Weller

See more books from this Author
Lance Weller has published short fiction in several literary journals. He won Glimmer Train's Short Story Award for New Writers and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. A Washington native, he has hiked and camped extensively in the landscape he describes. He lives in Gig Harbor, WA, with his wife and several dogs.
Published September 4, 2012 by Bloomsbury USA. 300 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Wilderness

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

(Abel Truman’s very name hints at how morally uncomplicated the protagonist is.) But Weller’s finer moments are marked by some spectacular sentences: He finds an unlikely beauty in the violence-torn settings, as when a bullet passes a soldier’s neck “like the first quick kiss of a shy girl.” A ...

Jul 31 2012 | Read Full Review of Wilderness: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

The small details of the battlefield, from the field hospital where his friends died to his glimpse of “a dented tuba lying lost in the middle of a swampy little creek and loose horses too numerous for counting” are potent Civil War prose, a respectful echo of Stephen Crane and Ambrose Bierce.

Jul 23 2012 | Read Full Review of Wilderness: A Novel

We Love This Book

In 1899 Abel Truman, a reclusive wounded veteran of the American Civil War, leaves his driftwood shack on the grey, rugged Pacific coast with his beloved dog to make a final solitary journey home by foot across the treacherous snowbound Olympic mountains.

Oct 11 2012 | Read Full Review of Wilderness: A Novel

Reader Rating for Wilderness

An aggregated and normalized score based on 319 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review