This story focuses on a small rag-tag group's annual trek into North Carolina's Nantahala National Forest to hunt wild Russian boars, but it is more concerned with man's eternal war with the wild and with father-son and other relationships. The hunt takes place in the Nantahala National Forrest in North Carolina, near Hooper Bald, where George Gordon Moore early last century established a wild game preserve for wealthy English investors. Those fences have long since collapsed, but some of the wild hogs with scissor-sharp tusks still roam the Nantahala.. Big-Eye Wheeler, uncouth but savvy hunter, has forced his deaf-mute teen-aged son Paul to learn to shoot and to join this hunt. Seven others include a cantankerous medical doctor who is still trying to grasp why he lost Nora, love of his life, to the coarse and unlettered Big-Eye. Since Doc suspects that Big-Eye is impotent, his misery is compounded by confusion over Paul's paternity. (Only Nora kws what it is to love something in my womb that came from the darkest of evil. ) On the first day of the hunt, Big-Eye shames his son who then runs away into the wilderness, and the story quickly shifts to the search for him, and the isolation, disasters, and tragedies that result. As they search the rugged mountains, each person is forced to confront his own strengths and weaknesses. Acts of courage by some who had doubted themselves surface before survivors are rescued, and Paul's experience in the wild reveals a surprising aspect of human nature that balances the macho qualities of his father. Doc, who had once shared with Nora a love for the poetry of John Keats, senses in their isolation and helplessness the inflexible and immutable stasis depicted in Keats's classic Ode On A Grecian Urn and is forced to ackwledge the mutability of man's time-governed existence and the urgency of acting to fulfill one's dreams.
Manchester, Tenn. Born in Texas, reared in Alabama. U of A: Journalism/Fiction Writing grad. Wrote for AP & Miss, Ala., Tennessee newspapers; taught at Motlow College, retired PR chief for UT Space Institute. Paints with watercolors, oils..