Sunday, 15 May 2011

The Loop - Nicholas Evans

Synopsis - Helen Ross, a twenty-nine year old biologist, is sent to a sleepy Rocky Mountains ranching town to defend a pack of wolves from those who want to destroy them.  For a century ago in Hope, Montana, the wolf was slaughtered to extinction and though now protected by law as an endangered species, the old hatred runs deep.

Alone in this hostile place, bruised bya broken love affair, Helen struggles for self-esteem and survival, embarking on a dangerous alliance with the son of her most ferocious opponent, the brutal and charismatic rancher, Buck Calder.

Review - A lovely story, this book reminded me a little of Barbara Kingsolver's Prodigal Summer.  In both novels you get the perspectives of both the ranchers who want to kill the predators and the rangers/biologists who want to protect the species.  In Kingsolver's book it was coyotes and in The Loop it is wolves.

In this book the war between the two factions is more bloody and but both books focus on personal relationships.  I like both books and this review is not about comparison.

Nicholas Evans wrote The Horse Whisperer which also is a film starring Robert Redford, I have neither read the book nor seen the film.  The Loop is my first foray into an Evans story.  I liked the characterisations, all strong and likeable, even Buck Calder to a certain extent.  We understand Helen's vunerability, carrying guilt for the break up of her parents marriage of which she was not to blame.  The reason why Helen and Luke are so drawn to each other is that Luke also feels guilty for his brother and grandfather's deaths.  His brother was on his way to fetch Luke from speech therapy when he had his accident.  Luke also feels he does not live up to his brother's legacy as he is a totally different person and his father resents him.  Luke is very much his Mother's son.  The book does not only concentrate on Helen and Luke but also on the Calder family and the inhabitants of Hope.  Also the Federal Agency staff in Hope that protect the wild animals, in particular the wolf programme.  We are also given an insight into the wolves lives, the hunting, denning and their habitat and how the biologists try to protect them in a humane manner.  4*

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