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Digital Subscriptions > Quill & Quire > MAY 2016 > Natural selection

Natural selection

Too much research bogs down Alissa York’s fourth novel BY AMI SANDS BRODOFF

FICTION

The Naturalist

Alissa York

Random House Canada

PHOTOGRAPH BY CURTIS LANTINGA

IN THE recent film The Revenant, set in the Montana wilderness of the early 1800s, it is hard to distinguish the trappers in their bear coats and patched skins from the wild creatures around them. In fact, the men are so much a part of the natural world they virtually become the very animals they are hunting. A version of this phenomenon – our fascination with, and interdependence upon, the wild – permeates Alissa York’s fourth novel. Instead of a snowy mountain landscape, the story inhabits the torrid, teeming Amazon, and in lieu of men and hairy beasts, the novel belongs to scaly reptiles, a widow, her stepson, and a Quaker farmgirl.

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Graphic novelist Michel Rabagliati puts his popular character on the shelf – at least for now. Plus, reviews of new books by David Adams Richards, Carmen Aguirre and Dany Vyleta.
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