It's Jake's birthday. He is sitting in a small plane, being flown over the landscape that has been the backdrop to his life - his childhood, his marriage, his work, his passions. Now he is in his early 60s, and he isn't quite the man he used to be. He has lost his wife, his son is in prison, and he is about to lose his past, for Jake has Alzheimer's. As the disease takes hold of him, Jake struggles to hold on to his personal story, to his memories and identity, but they are becoming increasingly elusive and unreliable. What happened to his daughter? Is she alive, or long dead? And why exactly is his son in prison? What went so wrong in his life? There was a cherry tree once, and a yellow dress, but what exactly do they mean? As Jake, assisted by 'poor Eleanor', a childhood friend with whom for some unfathomable reason he seems to be sleeping, fights the inevitable dying of the light, the key events of his life keep changing as he tries to grasp them, and what until recently seemed solid fact is melting into surreal dreams or nightmarish imaginings. Is there anything he'll be able to salvage from the wreckage? Beauty, perhaps? The memory of love? Or nothing at all? From the first sentence to the last, The Wilderness holds us in its grip. This is writing of extraordinary power and beauty.More
"Moving through a rich, protean mental landscape, Jake recalls and reinvents his life's themes and passions... Using recurrent, simple images - the flash of a yellow dress, freckled eyelids - Harvey beautifully, patiently ushers Jake forward to the last flicker of recognition; the whole a stunning composition of human fragility and intensity." (The Guardian UK)
"A treat for literature lovers who appreciate complexity in their novels and aren't afraid to deal with tough topics." (Library Journal)
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Beautifully written and narrated