In Half-Wild and Other Stories of Encounter, a startling debut short story collection by a new Ontario writer, intergenerational relationships unfold in a context of environmental change and degradation.
Emily Paskevics takes her characters—mothers, daughters, fathers, sisters—into the wilderness to lose themselves in their primal nature . . . or to find what they’ve always been missing as they struggle in a borderland between irrevocable environmental change and hope for ecological connection and healing.
A man searches for his wife and son who have mysteriously vanished into the woods while they were exploring a small island in Northern Ontario—are they truly lost, or did the woods rescue them from an inadequate husband and father? A mother takes her daughters into the remote wilderness to tell them about a harrowing encounter with a mountain lion, only to find that her story has already been told and is no longer quite her own. An old woman stands on a frozen river, contemplating her own death, until she locks eyes with a curious fox. A retired professor-turned beekeeper has an affair with a former student, and ultimately learns that she can live alone on the edge of wilderness.
In her stories, Emily Paskevics subtly subverts traditional nature writing: the forest is burning, rivers are flooding, and the exploitation of land looms large. At a time when human-animal sharing of territory is more fraught than ever, these enthralling tales challenge us to consider how our own existence intersects with the wild creatures we share the earth with, and to understand our place in a threatened ecosystem.