As a child in Montana's Bitterroot Valley, Ruthie Fear sees an apparition: a strange, headless creature near a canyon creek. Its presence haunts her throughout her youth. Raised in a trailer by her stubborn, bowhunting father, Ruthie develops a powerful connection with the natural world but struggles to find her place in a society shaped by men.
...clear-cut symbolism is turned on its head in one of the book’s many surprising and stunning moments when the creatures turn out to be more than simple metaphors in man’s complicated and abusive relationship with nature ... In this book Loskutoff hones and deepens the unique skill he showcased in his debut, the short story collection Come West and See: a capacity for human complexity, the talent to hold beauty and ugliness at once. The novel’s characters—most notably Ruthie and Rutherford—are sympathetic and unsympathetic in turn ... All the way to the shocking end of the book, it is impossible to say for sure whether ruin will be served by the natural world itself or by the modern world collapsing onto itself.
The mundane and the extraordinary converge ... the arc of this novel is anything but predictable. Its conclusion represents a bold and potentially divisive decision on Loskutoff’s part—but ultimately a powerful and evocative one that casts a number of earlier scenes in sharp relief. With resonant characters and a great sense of place, this novel rarely goes where you’d expect, and is stronger for it.