Wild Animus

Wild Animus

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Pilney, Kathleen

Wild Animus is a novel that takes place in Alaska’s wildlands. It’s written from the point of view of Sam (later known as Ransom), a 22-year-old risk-taker who’s consumed with experiencing the life of a Dall ram by wearing a horned headdress and hoofed feet while climbing the cliffs of Mount Wrangell. He describes his mission as “to find the glowing magma in the heart of things.” Translation: to expose his life’s calling and inner beast by tripping on LSD while walking around mountain crevasses in Alaska’s secluded areas.

The book’s parallels are hard to catch, (e.g.., human love as equivalent to the wild’s prey-predator relationship where one species succumbs to the other), and the metaphors are too high to grasp at times. Ransom describes himself as a martyr and free spirit, though he’s more like a spirit that’s funded at the expense of the other characters. Examples include Ransom dumping his girlfriend (in the name of self-sacrifice) after she funded his many explorations by working jobs she despised, and persuading his fellow climbers to reroute up a dangerous icefall so he could be one with the rams. One character falls through a weak snow bridge and into a crevasse as a result.

On a promising note, all of the proceeds from book sales will be used to protect strategic wilderness in Alaska. The book is also accompanied with a website (www.toofar.com) that offers reading discussion notes, author interviews, and actual photos of the book’s setting.

This is the first book in a series to follow to be published by Too Far. Future books will also benefit the conservation of pristine areas throughout the country.

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