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Wild life : a novel
Molly Gloss
Adult Fiction GLOSS

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Gloss twines just enough intellectual fiber around the sleek cord of a great adventure story to offer up a truly satisfying read. Presented as the 1905 journal of the fictional dime novelist Charlotte Bridger Drummond, Gloss's third novel (after The Jump-Off Creek and The Dazzle of Day) tells the tale of a self-avowed feminist and Freethinker and her sojourn in the wilderness of Washington's Cascade mountains. Abandoned by her husband, Charlotte supports her five boys and her housekeeper, Melba, by churning out "romantic tales of girl-heroes who are both brave and desirable." When Melba's granddaughter goes missing in the woods, Charlotte sets out, as would her heroines, to join the search party. But after days of searching, Charlotte finds herself last, for weeks managing to survive only by insinuating herself into a family of "apes or erect bears of immense size." Knowingly, Gloss plays with one of our deepest fearsDlost in the wilderness, will we be saved?Dand the myths that have grown from it. Interleaved between Charlotte's notebook entries are passages she has clipped from journals (e.g., of Samuel Butler, Willa Cather, Oscar Wilde) and excerpts from her published and unpublished fiction. Inserted among these are brief scenesDportraits, reallyDthat could be construed as Charlotte's most serious attempts to write, or as Gloss telling us what Charlotte cannot. While Gloss generates heat and humor from the friction between early 20th-century and early 21st-century attitudes, her prose is most satisfying when she describes Charlotte's housekeeper ironing or Charlotte's patient suitor batting a homemade baseball. Deep into the book, Charlotte describes the "lowbrow scientific romances" she fancies: "[M]y preference is for the writer whose language is gorgeous, whose characters are real as life, and whose stories take my poor little assumptions and give them back to me transformed." Gloss couldn't have written a better description of her own novel: the writing is gorgeous, the characters real and vivid, and the story transforming. Agent, Wendy Weil. (June) FYI: Gloss received a 1996 Whiting Award, as well as the PEN Center West Fiction Prize. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

In her third novel, Whiting Award winner Gloss (The Dazzle of Day) tackles frontier life in the turn-of-the-century Pacific Northwest. Charlotte Bridger Drummond, a young widow with five sons, struggles to find time to write the potboilers that feed her family. When her housekeeper's granddaughter Harriet disappears in remote logging country, Charlotte decides that tracking her down would be a good adventure. After all, she's a gutsy, independent woman, and the trip might provide some good research material. Charlotte's strength and determination are put to the test, however, when she herself becomes lost in the woods. Written in journal format with occasional sidebars and epigraphs, this novel both entertains and engages the reader. Without moralizing, Gloss explores the deeper meaning of what it really is to be human. Strongly recommended for large public libraries.DLaurel Bliss, Sterling Memorial Lib., New Haven, CT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Charlotte Bridger Drummond
Female
Widow
Mother of five; freethinker.
Writer



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