PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewBlakeslee does a fine job presenting the wolf’s basic biological requirements, from abundant prey source (in Yellowstone, the overpopulation of elk) to secure denning sites. But he also illustrates the far more complicated and ever-dynamic human elements affecting the wolves. The politics of ranchers — some for wolves, others against — and antigovernment zealots, hunting outfitters, Congress, courts and judges, and tourism operators all exert a sculpting pressure on where and how and if the wolf can live ... American Wolf takes its place in a long lineage of wolf books. And there are cherished, striking images here: a winter-killed bison bull, stalled out in snow so deep it couldn’t even fall over, but died standing up and was frozen in place, while the ravens and wolves circled, investigating. Many readers might find the shifting cast of characters hard to follow — wolves named Shy Male, 21, 42, 754, 755, 776, Middle Gray, and so on. This is not the author’s fault, but rather testament instead to the ever-flowing life force that is the wolf, to which so many are attracted, while others, repulsed.
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewThe protagonists of Knight’s stories trouble themselves with country club tennis matches and attempts at elaborate dinner party preparations, like New South zombies walking at dusk beneath draping tendrils and trellises of Spanish moss ... Knight pays careful, writerly attention to the details of desperation. His characters — often entombed in middle-age despair — in their weakened, even futile attempts to shift position, if not actually escape, give a reader the sensation of watching the lateral movements of blobs of life wriggling beneath a microscope.
PositiveThe Boston GlobeThe Ancient Minstrel, Harrison’s latest collection, reminds us that there is perhaps no other writer as comfortable with the novella as this prolific 78-year-old. At their best, his tales possess the hypnotic grace and momentum of a long-distance, freestyle swimmer, pages cleaving away like armstrokes.