WILD THINGS by Clay Carmichael (Front Street, 2009) is the story of an orphaned girl, her uncle, and an abandoned cat find each other and create a family. Zoe comes to lie with her Uncle Henry after her own mother commits suicide. While she is still surveying her new territory she notices a feral cat lurking at the edge of the property. Zoe begins her attempts to lure the cat closer, to get the cat to trust her. She shares much with this cat, prefers to be independent so as not to be hurt. Uncle Henry is careful to give Zoe space as well, letting her find her own way into his life.
This pitiful summary does not even come close to doing justice to this compelling story about how separate lives become entwined, how individuals come together as a family. The language sings, settings come alive. characters enter into your heart. Interspersed into Zoe's story is the tale of the feral cat who observes much out in the woods. This dual narrative works well: they are often echoes of each other, giving a wonderfully round shape to the story.