I miss the person I was with you. Your leaving will not be solved by your coming back. But one does not preclude the other.
And maybe that is always what there is to fear, in everything that happens -- what we choose to love will choose to forsake us. I don't think we're finished. I don't believe that all we were meant to have was something as brief as the red twist of the fox moving fast across the empty field. It's about what I choose to believe. It's not what I can see, but what I think is out there.
Helen Humphreys captures longing and loneliness more than any writer I have read. The beauty of her prose, at times, took my breath away. The characters meet as they go out nightly to call their dogs who have joined a pack of wild dogs and are no longer interested in being owned. The story of lives linked by love of their dogs has a sadness and a sweetness.
Each character's story evolves through and apart from the others. The atmosphere both emotional and physical is honest, sometimes painful an Helen Humphreys captures longing and loneliness more than any writer I have read. The atmosphere both emotional and physical is honest, sometimes painful and always beautifully drawn. A small novel with a big impact. Damn fine book, full of surprises, and always at a bit of a slant. Humphreys manages to write about a diverse collection of people and dogs , all intertwined, as individuals.
Each of these people is alone in a way that anyone secretly recognizes. After all, we all live alone. Here, in this slightly surreal book, this is made manifest in a way I've never quite seen before. Certain revelations seem to tear the narrative open-- and then you realize, no, this changes nothing. This is a book not qui Damn fine book, full of surprises, and always at a bit of a slant. This is a book not quite like any other. You should read it. I found that this book did not resonate deeply with me as it did with other readers.
The writing style didn't demand deep heart wrenching emotions despite the difficult pasts that most characters have faced. I thought it was interesting to analyze in the context of the Pastoral genre, but other than that.. I could live without having read this book. Again, interesting and stimulating to analyze, but not that exciting of a reading experience. I'm a relatively new reader of Helen Humphreys' books and I'm thoroughly impressed. She's so astute and a very talented writer. This book is no exception: wildly inventive plot as told through the eyes of several key players.
Her observations on the nature of love are incredibly insightful. A few quotes worth repeated: "Sometimes I will see couple who are happy together. I can recognize it in the easy way they are together, an effortlessness that's evident in their gestures and their words. No I'm a relatively new reader of Helen Humphreys' books and I'm thoroughly impressed. Nothing is defence or explanation. And I wonder how it's possible that I recognize this happiness, and want it, when I've had so few examples of it in my own life. Is the desire to be loved as instinctual as the need for food and shelter?
It just makes you afraid you'll lose what you love, and then, because your fear makes a space for that to happen, it does. What's the point? I feel it in that moment.
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And the terrible thing is that the space something takes up when it's around is still there when it's gone, only now it's filled with nothing. It's filled with missing. I felt obligated by it and I knew that eventually I would treat it badly, or be betrayed by it.
It is always better to leave someone before they leave you. I knew that, and I thought that the loneliness we solved by being together would make us free.
But instead it bound us together in a way that soon felt suffocating. I have read various Helen Humphreys novels and always found them well-written and engaging. This novel, from , is no exception. The title of the novel refers to a pack of wild dogs in a nearby forest that stick together and molest farm animals such as lambs -- leading to anger from nearby farmers. But that is not really what the book is about. It is instead a study of human relationships. Six people come together on the edge of the woods each night; each has lost their pet dog to I have read various Helen Humphreys novels and always found them well-written and engaging.
Six people come together on the edge of the woods each night; each has lost their pet dog to the pack, usually because of a betrayal of someone close to them who underhandedly released their dog to run with the wild pack.
The six gradually form close relationships among themselves -- two become lovers, one provides shelter to another, others become dependent on the support of the group as they call out to their dogs, trying to entice them back. The novel builds these ties, section by section, making for a cumulative structure to the book that I found very effective.
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The first section focuses on Alice, a working class young woman who leaves her partner because he gave away her dog; the second focuses on Jamie, the teenager who Alice eventually has to protect from his mistakes; the third is tied to Lily, a mentally unstable girl who, devastated by the loss of her dog given away by her parents, eventually goes into the woods to try to join the dog pack; the fourth covers Spencer, one of the hunters who goes into the woods to try to eliminate the wild dog pack; Malcolm and Walter provide the next two sections; then Rachel is the focus of the last section, tying the plot back to Alice in the end.
This is a powerful book, with moments of high suspense and violence, and other moments of love and caring. And as always with Humphreys it is written exquisitely.
I recommend it to all who value depth of character and skillful plotting in their reading. In these intertwined stories, six people—young, old, male, female—who live in a remote, economically depressed community meet each evening to search for their dogs. Each person is profoundly isolated. Their most significant relationships are with their now free and feral dogs, and the loss of them unleashes different forms of wildness: violence, insanity, crime, the act of falling in love, and the act of breaking free. Helen Humpreys as in generally acknowledged in Canada is one hell of a writ In these intertwined stories, six people—young, old, male, female—who live in a remote, economically depressed community meet each evening to search for their dogs.
Helen Humpreys as in generally acknowledged in Canada is one hell of a writer. Their eyes flash, bright starts in the woods at night, and they weave like fire through the dry grass towards the edge of the city, looking for something to kill and eat. Humphrey's novels always seem to be written for a straight audience with the lesbian content artfully muted.
For instance, in Wild Dogs, two women who are strangers begin an intense affair almost upon meeting, but the gender of one is kept hidden from the audience for much of the book, allowing readers to assume it is a heterosexual relationship since it is described through the eyes of a woman leaving an abusive boyfriend.
While this is a character-driven novel with lots of scrutiny and analysis of relationships, there is a complete absence of either internal monologue or external dialogue about being queer. I eventually got around to Wild Dogs this year. Instead I read The Lost Garden first, and then made my way through all her other books. I bought my copy of Wild Dogs at a used book store, likely about five years ago. I remember trying to start it a few times, and not finding it engaging. But this year, I persisted.
And it was worth it.
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The story considers five people and their dogs. The dogs have all been released into the wild, on the outskirts of a small farming community somewhere in I think Ontario. The novel tells each story one by one, so there are several voices and perspectives throughout.
Appendix A. Preliminary task
We read about mostly tragedy — lost love, troubled home life, abandonment, mental illness, a struggling community — but there are glimpses of beauty and hope as well. Humphreys is also a poet, and that is clear in many passages of the book, where description is lyrical and vague and where several threads of the story are left unravelled at the end.
But the interweaving stories and varied voices of the characters are very well done. The female characters have more colour and complexity than the male ones, and definitely more sympathy from the author, which is my only criticism of the book. But sex with you is different. Even though we don't talk too much about the details, I think we've both had hard lives, and we've settled for things we shouldn't have settled for, and at the heart of both of us is a mix of grief, anger, and loneliness.
Sex with you feels like a push to get back to an uncorrupted, unviolated self, and I sometimes feel bits o "I used to think that sex was about being in the present, existing entirely in the moment, and I was always grateful for the relief of that. Sex with you feels like a push to get back to an uncorrupted, unviolated self, and I sometimes feel bits of my old life float up to the surface and time becomes confused and it seems as though you've always been here, always been with me.