The Wild Heavens
Sarah Louise Butler
It all starts with an impossibly large set of tracks, footprints for a creature that could not possibly exist. The words sasquatch, bigfoot and yeti never occur in this novel, but that is what most people would call the hairy, nine-foot creature that would become a lifelong obsession for Aidan Fitzpatrick, and in turn, his granddaughter Sandy Langley.
The novel spans the course of single winter day, interspersed with memories from Sandy's life—childhood days spent with her distracted, scholarly grandfather in a remote cabin in British Columbia's interior mountains; later recollections of new motherhood; and then the tragic disappearance that would irrevocably shape the rest of her life, a day when all signs of the mysterious creature would disappear for thirty years. When the enigmatic tracks finally reappear, Sandy sets out on the trail alone, determined to find out the truth about the mystery that has shaped her life.
The Wild Heavens is an impressive and evocative debut, containing beauty, tragedy and wonder in equal parts. (From Douglas & McIntyre)
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From the book
Aiden crested a ridge and froze in place, heart pounding. It was right there in its own tracks, not twenty yards away. It was covered in grizzled brown fur and it stood upright, broad-shouldered and a good nine feet tall. It turned to face him, its features were both simian and human and it regarded him with a calm, perceptive curiosity. He could only stare mutely, his fear held loosely—ready to grasp but at arm's length—because his primary impression was not that the creature was frightening, but that it was magnificent, miraculous. It was impossible, and yet there it stood.
From The Wild Heavens by Sarah Louise Butler ©2020. Published by Douglas & McIntyre.
"It took me almost a decade to write this book. Over that long stretch of time, things changed a lot. Initially, I was coming at the story from a scientific angle. It wasn't until partway through that elements of magic realism started creeping in, almost against my will.
I was trying to reconcile the two strongest influences of my earliest years.- Sarah Louise Butler
"I realized that there was something going on there with my own history of having grown up very religious, but then having left the Catholic Church as quite a young child. I kept finding bits of post-Catholic debris scattered throughout the work. What I came to realize was that I was trying to reconcile the two strongest influences of my earliest years.
"I was growing up as a nature and science obsessed child, but in a very religious family. I get a lot into the idea of faith and belief and the nature and trajectory of belief."