After trying to help Benjamin Pearl, an undernourished, nearly feral eleven-year-old boy living in the Montana wilderness, social worker Pete Snow comes face to face with the boy’s profoundly disturbed father, Jeremiah. With courage and caution, Pete slowly earns a measure of trust from this paranoid survivalist itching for a final conflict that will signal the coming End Times.
But as Pete’s own family spins out of control, Pearl’s activities spark the full-blown interest of the F.B.I., putting Pete at the center of a massive manhunt from which no one will emerge unscathed.
About the Author
Smith Henderson is the recipient of a PEN Emerging Writers Award in fiction. He was a Philip Roth Resident in Creative Writing at Bucknell University, a Pushcart Prize winner, and a Fellow at the Michener Center for Writers in Austin, Texas. He currently works at the Wieden+Kennedy advertising agency. His fiction has appeared in American Short Fiction, One Story, New Orleans Review, Makeout Creek, and Witness. Born and raised in Montana, he now lives in Portland, Oregon.
As social worker Pete Snow tries to help an undernourished, nearly wild, eleven-year-old boy living in the Montana wilderness, his own family is heading towards demise. As the title implies, this novel is about freedom and plays out at the intersection of freedom and community. In America there is that border, where one person’s freedoms trespass upon another’s. I chose this book because it explores our nation’s disquieting and violent contradictions – juxtaposing the struggles of one ordinary man to the broader currents of American culture, both its blessing and its evils.