Into The Woods

SFX - - Reviews - Lewis’s next book is set in the ’70s; it’s about four kids who dis­cover a body and de­cide to in­ves­ti­gate.

How well can you truly know some­one? It’s a ques­tion ev­ery­one faces at one time or an­other, but most aren’t con­fronted with it in the same ex­treme cir­cum­stances as Elka... Res­cued at a young age by a surly sur­vival­ist known as Trap­per, she grows up tough and ca­pa­ble – if iso­lated from the rest of the world. Then, 10 years later, she dis­cov­ers that Trap­per is wanted for a string of mur­ders and so flees into the wilder­ness to look for her fam­ily, dodg­ing bears and a per­sis­tent tena­cious sher­iff along the way.

Beth Lewis’s de­but feels more con­cerned with place more than plot, and she suc­ceeds in evok­ing a vivid and be­liev­able fu­ture Canada. The world has been de­pop­u­lated by a cat­a­clysm which has caused ter­ri­ble storms and soured the land with lakes of poi­son, but those end­less forests re­main. That said, the de­ci­sion to tell the story in Elka’s Western di­alect is only par­tially suc­cess­ful. You get used to it, but it never fully con­vinces.

Still, Elka is a re­source­ful and mostly like­able hero, even when it be­comes ap­par­ent that she has in­her­ited Trap­per’s ruth­less­ness. And while the story is a lit­tle thin, it builds to a sat­is­fy­ingly nu­anced and am­bigu­ous fi­nale. Will Salmon

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