What a sad read and yet how true it felt.
If anyone has ever truly loved an animal, this book will get to him or her since the main character finds his best friend, his dog, shot dead by some unknown person at the very beginning of this novel. Hardly ever have I been so moved by the description of someone´s mourning. But even before this tragic incident Julius Winsome has been grieving for a lot of other reasons.
He´s a loner living in a cabin deep in a forest in Maine, his only companions are the 3000 and some more books his father has left behind. They cover the cabin walls and Julius reads them one by one. He is still not over the loss of his father and is sad about having been left by the girlfriend he had for a few months who, all of a sudden, didn´t turn up any more. Apart from these two facts we hear nothing about his biography. It´s as if his memories were solely composed of his grandfather´s stories of WWI and his father´s tales from WWII and some odd remembrances linked to his memorizing words found in Shakespeare´s plays and sonnets.
Julius has always been a defender of animals and to find his beloved dog senselessly shot dead triggers something very dark in him.
In the chapters following the opening scenes we see him take revenge.
Gerard Donovan is also a poet so it is only natural his style should be very poetic and picturesque. You can almost hear the snow fall when it starts to cover the dog´s grave. You can hear the gunshots from the hunters that so infuriate Julius and you feel the utter loneliness of this gentle man turning into an avenger.