THE HUNTER'S TALE
After a tour of duty in Afghanistan, Leif Jensen returns to a quiet life in small town Wisconsin. Still in his twenties, he isn't quite sure what to put his time and effort into besides hunting and getting together with his family to watch the Green Bay Packers.
Jan Huang, a retired businesswoman, moves into the house next door, and Leif finds himself drawn to her because of her unique perspective on the world and her mysterious motives for moving into town.
As a friendship develops between Leif and his mysterious new neighbor, a photo of a once-in-a-lifetime whitetail deer, The Thirty Pointer, surfaces, and Leif is one of many hunters who fantasizes about being the one to tag the legendary creature.
This is an ode to small town Wisconsin, a meditation on hunting, and an examination of friendship, family, and loss. Even in rural Wisconsin in the late 2000s, conflicts as big as war and comforts as small as chocolate cake circle each other in the dance of life and death.
“The living and the dead both have long reaches indeed, and each haunts us in turn. What is and what isn’t, does and doesn’t, will and won’t…it is a cruel stroke of fate sometimes which brings us to bear the weight of both.”
NICE THINGS PEOPLE SAID
I was so captivated by the characters and the story, that I was a little bummed when I finished the last page. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was mysterious, heartwarming, and though-provoking. The book had me thinking about important themes like race, friendship, family, faith, what it means to be a "neighbor," and what is most important in life.
Being from NE Wisconsin I particularly enjoyed references to our mannerisms and sometimes funny use of the English language. If you are not from here you will want to be after reading this. The book does show some downsides and darksides to small town living but the message is a good one and I enjoyed reading the first of what I expect to be many books by the author.
I was hooked and could not put it down. It had humor, drama, loyalty and purpose. I found myself laughing outloud, reminising about Wisconsin traditions, and sensing danger and fearing what might come about. It took me on that roller coaster ride of emotions that I always look for in a great story.