The Wilderness

The Wilderness

A Novel

Book - 2009
Average Rating:
4
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Random House, Inc.

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 mid-sixties, 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. 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 become 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 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.



Baker & Taylor
With his memories slowly eroding from Alzheimer's, sixty-five-year-old Jake Jameson struggles to preserve his sense of identity by building stories about his feelings and the events of his life, unaware that even his clearest recollections may not be true.

Blackwell North Amer
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 mid-sixties, 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. 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 become 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 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?

Baker
& Taylor

With his memories slowly eroding thanks to the ravages of Alzheimer's, Jake Jameson, a sixty-five-year-old architect on the verge of retirement, struggles to preserve his sense of identity by building stories about his feelings and the events of his life, unaware that even his clearest recollections may not be true. A first novel. 30,000 first printing.

Publisher: New York : Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, 2009
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780385527637
Branch Call Number: FIC Harve
Characteristics: 371 p. ; 22 cm

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t
tjdickey
Jun 12, 2017

A purposefully maddening narrative, with the story told from the perspective of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. The protagonist often struggles to locate his words even early on; the sentence, "Entropy - this is the word his brain has been trying to hunt down for days" is alone worth the price of reading. The connections to reality are thus never quite certain for us, and less so as the decline continues. Nevertheless, the architect narrator's life gradually unfolds for us through flashbacks, stories, and memories divorced from linear time, untrustworthy in themselves, but rendered in touching and often shattering prose.

m
MissEavis
Aug 05, 2013

Although compelling in story I did find myself wish the story would move faster. However this could have been a choice by the author to demenstrate better how the character was progressing with the disease....The book did bring me to tears a few times so it is rich in emotion to say the least.

u
uncommonreader
Apr 30, 2013

The narrator of this story, who has Alzheimer's disease, struggles to remember. As the book progresses, so does the disease and his memories become increasingly fragmented and unreliable. The book is very well written and compelling.

n
nelsonpj
Dec 13, 2009

This was one of the most compelling stories I have ever read. It s the story of an English architect whose passion was to build a glass house in the English countryside. The story takes place when he is elderly and is succumbiing to Alzheimers. It explores memory, reality, truth, our values contrasted against how we actually live our life. A powerful story that gives plenty of food for thought.

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