Reviews of The Wilding

The Wilding is one of the best novels published this fall, and if you haven’t read Percy before, it’s the perfect introduction to a remarkable American voice.” – for the complete review and an interview with Ben, click here

The Wilding – “Percy’s excellent debut novel (after the collection Refresh, Refresh) digs into the ambiguous American attitude toward nature as it oscillates between Thoreau’s romantic appreciation and sheer gothic horror. The plot concerns a hunting trip taken by Justin Caves and his sixth-grade son, Graham, with Justin’s bullying father, Paul, a passionate outdoorsman in failing health who’s determined to spend one last weekend in the Echo Canyon before real estate developer Bobby Fremont turns the sublime pocket of wilderness into a golfing resort. Justin, a high school English teacher, has hit an almost terminally rough patch in his marriage to Karen, who, while the boys camp, contemplates an affair with Bobby, though she may have bigger problems with wounded Iraq war vet Brian, a case study in creepy stalker. The men, meanwhile, are being tracked by a beast and must contend with a vengeful roughneck roaming the woods. A taut plot and cast of deeply flawed characters–Justin is a masterwork of pitiable wretchedness–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

The Wilding wraps its arms around some big themes: the vanishing wilderness, a dissolving marriage, and the shell-shocked re-adjustment to domestic life after combat. It’s a lot to pack into 250 pages, but Percy manages to do it with remarkable ease. His sentences have the simplicity and beauty of Shaker furniture, but he also writes meaty action scenes that never feel like they depart from the book’s emotional core. No matter if we’re facing danger in the jungles of Manhattan or the deep woods of Oregon, life really boils down to two questions: Will we live? and Will it hurt when I die? Percy takes his characters right up to the edge and forces them to stare, hard, into the maw of the mystery any attempt to answer them reveals.”

Barnes and Noble – for the complete review click here

“Percy’s novel perfectly captures our ambiguous attitudes toward the natural world, the tensions between rural and urban, the way that untamed wildness carries both grace and terror.”

High Country News – for the complete review click here

The Wilding emerges as creative, unique and deeply thought-provoking. More so, it speaks of an author with many more tricks up his sleeve.”

Bookpage – for the complete review click here

“If it’s a thriller you’re after, The Wilding doesn’t disappoint, taking a story as old as the woods and fashioning it into something a bit sleeker and more psychological — a bit closer to where we live.”

Los Angeles Times – for the complete review click here

“Percy’s writing in this novel is recklessly passionate, ferocious and fast-paced, but his thinking about these subjects is profound and carefully reasoned.”

Hayden’s Ferry Review – for the complete review click here

The Wilding is an urgent and haunting look at the darker side of our nature and at our often futile attempts to control and manage the natural world.”

Kansas City Star

“Benjamin Percy’s debut novel, The Wilding, reaches out and mauls you like a raging grizzly bear.”

Ames Tribune

“It’s Deliverance meets Sometimes a Great Notion

The Oregonian – for the complete review click here

“…his writing is as natural, dark, and deep as the woods he writes about. At 31, Percy is as promising a writer as anyone on a certain New York magazine’s list of promising writers under 40.”

The Boston Globe – for the complete review click here

“Percy is very good at wreaking havoc with his many interconnected plots and then remaking, metaphorically and literally. He is also a courageous realistic who presents unpalatable truths.”

Observer-Dispatch – for the complete review click here

“Just as Percy demonstrates how men manage danger, he’s equally adept at revealing the odd ways men also create it. Percy’s rendering of their psychological dance is masterful.”

Orion – for the complete review click here

“..powerfully written first novel……he delineates his characters with a knife-sharp psychological edge.”

National Public Radio

NPR’s “You Must Read This — Three Adventure Tales to Awaken Your Natural Spirit

Other Great Review:

New York Times Sunday Book Review
The Dallas Morning News
Time Out Chicago
Three Guys One Book
The Collagist
The Rumpus

Reviews in Print Only

Mens Journal