A solid story, sad and satisfying, one which might, initially, provoke feelings of déjà vu in those who’ve read A Prayer for the Dying.
An American mountain man, stoic and self-sufficient, enjoys an all too brief period of love and intimacy before tragedy and loss impose, and he’s left to fend for and only for himself. Johnson’s gentle prose resists a stereotype, rendering the protagonist credible and admirable. The inevitable wolf-girl scene defies belief but situates the story in a mythic tradition that prevents a reader’s outright rejection.
Johnson captures an era, a majestic landscape, and the heroic decency of a past which one hopes was real and not merely individualism romanticized.
A good one—quick, thoughtful, well worth the brief time and effort required.