THE WOLF ROAD
Into The Woods
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