Article published on February 24, 2015.
Hold the Dark is published on 26th February, 2015 by No Exit Press, £8.99
It’s not often I’m surprised by a book but Hold the Dark by William Giraldi is a literary thriller that really held my attention. It’s a brutal and sometimes disturbing tale about the nature of man, set in an unforgiving Alaskan landscape. When the six-year-old son of Medora and Vernon Slone goes missing it’s assumed the wolves have taken him. Help comes in the form of wolf expert Russell Core, who soon discovers he has more to be afraid of than wild animals. Battling demons of his own, he puts off returning to his own family in order to track down the culprit and finds himself confronted by animal nature in human form. Man and beast merge as they fight to overcome their environment and the tenets of civilisation are tested. Can a man be a hero and a villain? Who decides?
This is the kind of story that lingers in the mind. Giraldi writes convincingly but non-judgmentally, skilfully balancing pace and characterisation. He conjures a feeling of cold dread that doesn’t leave you, even when you’ve read the last page.
Startling, engrossing – and highly recommended.
Mel Mitchell, February 2015
About the author:
William Giraldi is the author the critically acclaimed novel Busy Monsters (W.W. Norton). He teaches at Boston University, is the Senior Fiction Editor for the journal AGNI, and is a regular contributor to the New York Times Book Review. He has been a finalist for a National Magazine Award in the category of Essays and Criticism, and has received a Pushcart Prize. Find out more at wgiraldi.com