Treat Us Like Dogs and We Will Become Wolves

By Carolyn Chute
A compelling, compulsive follow up to "The School on Heart s Content Road" by a modern-day Dickensian voice ("San Diego Union Tribune"); a politically passionate portrait of a complicated, marginalized leader who refuses to silence his beliefs, and who may or may not be all that he seems.
It s the height of summer, 1999, when local newspaper, the Record Sun, receives numerous tipoffs from anonymous callers warning of violence, weapons stockpiling, and rampant child abuse at the nearby homeschool on Heart s Content Road. Hungry for a big break into serious journalism, ingenue columnist Ivy Morelli sets out to meet the mysterious leader of the homeschool, Gordon St. Ongereferred to by many as The Prophet. Soon, Ivy ingratiates herself into the sprawling Settlement, a self-sufficient counterculture community that many locals fear to be a wild cult. Despite her initial skepticismnot to mention the Settlement s ever-growing group of pregnant teenaged girlsIvy finds herself irresistibly drawn to Gordon.
Meanwhile, across town, Brianna, a gifted and disturbed teen with wild orange hair, paints her political and personal visions. At the behest of her brothers, Brianna joins the community. As her complicated, awkward relationship with Gordon unfolds, Brianna reveals herself to be a shy, yet passionate, individual, with a strange and troubling sexual past.
As the newcomers are drawn deeper into Settlement life, Gordon s powerful magnetism and strange duality are exposed, and those rumors that led to his initial investigation seem, at times, to be all too possible realities. When the Record Sun finally runs its piece on Gordon, the exposure has a startling and unexpected effect on Settlement life and the world beyond it.
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    REVIEW QUOTES
Praise for "Treat Us Like Dogs and We Will Become Wolves" "Carolyn Chute is a James Joyce of the backcountry, a Proust of rural society, an original in every meaning of the word. She inhabits everyone in her creation, sees everything that goes on within it. And though we might at times rather look away, we readers see everything--and everyone--too."--"New York Times Book Review" "Quirky, intensely original...an intellectual page-turner...Treat Us Like Dogs... is the work of a writer who defies classification. As in her acclaimed 1985 debut, The Beans of Egypt, Maine, Chute combines strident political commentary with humor, surrealism, and inventive language. Her novel, like its author (who lives off the grid in the woods of Maine), is multilayered and complex, deeply critical of society but fiercely devoted to humans."-"O Magazine" "There are works of fiction so flawlessly constructed, expansive in scope, daring in form and supple in prose that a reader has to pull back for a moment to allow time for awe. Such books endure, like cathedrals, monuments to the creative spirit. But often as not, you can make the argument that though they are Great Books, they aren't always great books...Not so with Carolyn Chute's latest book, a 700-page piece of wonderful, infuriating, narrative energy... This is the work of a writer at the peak of her craft... she's not afraid to appear clumsy in the pursuit of grace, which is one of the things that makes this book great. And, yes, Great."--"Minneapolis Star Tribune" "Deeply felt, scorchingly funny."--"Vanity Fair" "Chute, a longtime political activist and champion of social justice, writes like a wild animal--ferocious, playful--making mincemeat of contemporary mores. Plenty to gnaw on here."--"More" "A complex, multilayered story worth digging into, which explores, among other things, poverty, democracy in America, and the role of community in helping those living on the fringe of society take even the tiniest steps forward."--"Booklist" Praise for "The School on Heart's Content Road" "In her conscience-altering new novel, Chute bares a hidden America . . . [through] diverse narrators [who] offer perspectives on the need for justice and mercy, a safe house for the heart."--Cathleen Medwick, "O," the Oprah Magazine "Chute is such an extraordinary, vivid, empathetic writer. . . . Like a ferocious bulletin from an alternate universe--tumbling, pell-mell, brilliant and strange--comes this explosive and discomfiting . . . beautiful novel. . . . [The School on Heart's Content Road is] a love song to a part of America that doesn't have much of a voice, and is armed. . . . [It's] a message in a bottle: urgent, written in capital letters, determined to travel the seemingly great distance from one shore of reality to another. You might not agree with everything in it, but you might want to open it and read it. She's talking to you." --Stacey D'Erasmo, The New York Times Book Review "Off the grid is where the novelist Carolyn Chute resides: The content of her characters, the ethos of her books and her style of writing generate their own spiky electricity, markedly distinct from that of more traditional, smooth fictions that radiate the steady hum of commercial generation. . . . Chute, whose rangy, energy-on-the-loose prose and anti-establishment atmospherics are indeed reminiscent of Kesey . . . Chute braids several story lines into this vibrant pastiche of a novel . . . Chute's books, since her beginnings in The Beans of Egypt, Maine and Letourneau's Used Auto Parts, have struggled to give an account of those living at the edge of economic desperation, so often cropped out of the public narrative." --Art Winslow, The Chicago Tribune "Carolyn Chute emerges as a modern-day Dickensian voice for the losers in class warfare. No American author has chronicled the lives of those on the losing side of the class divide with greater love, sorrow, humor, fury or psychological acuity. It's been nearly ten years since we've had a novel from Carolyn Chute. Her voice has been sorely missed. . . . Chute imbues her urgent narrative with propulsive energy and an astonishing range of richly detailed characters. In terms of craft alone, [The School on Heart's Content Road] is certainly Chute's best book to date. She is at her most adventurous and idiosyncratic, moving between past and present tense and between first-and third-person perspectives with an ease that impresses technically but, more importantly, gives the story an unusual and deeply affecting blend of intimacy and generational sweep. . . . We have our Dickens now." --Gregory Leon Miller, San Diego Union Tribune "[Chute's] writing is raw and strong and vivid, with deep resounding echoes of Faulkner and Upton Sinclair. . . . She's a scientist, brilliant and mad, lighting matches under beakers, mixing compounds, breaking words into their smallest divisible parts. [The School on Heart's Content Road] doesn't boil down to politics. It boils down to humans, who fail to obey even the simplest, clearest laws of thermodynamics, physics, gravity or even chaos theory." --Susan Salter Reynolds, The Los Angeles Times "Brave, passionate and raw, fiercely written . . . A profoundly human novel . . . [Chute's] language is both down-home and inventive, idiosyncratic and real. Her characters are multi-dimensional and pained, and she draws them with tremendous empathy. . . . The School on Heart's Content Road is absolutely one of a kind." --David Daley, USA Today "A vivid tale. . . . [The School on Heart's Content Road is] a triumph of characterization and color . . . [and] Chute's writing is breathtaking. . . . Enjoy the ride." --Augusta Scattergood, The Christian Science Monitor "[Carolyn Chute] returns with more moxie, righteous indignation, and artistry than ever before to challenge our notions of democracy, family, and fiction. . . . In this episodic, high-voltage, post-Oklahoma City, and pre-9/11 novel of disenfranchisement and improvised community, Chute whips up a storm of backwoods carnival energy as her gorgeous prose illuminates larger-than-life characters, mythic confrontations, and what exactly poverty, injustice, and the corporate imperative do to body and soul. . . . An audacious novel of compassionate satire and protest straight from the heart of the betrayed working class." --Donna Seaman, Booklist (starred review) "[With] distinctive, muscular prose . . . Chute has an undeniable talent for depicting humanity at its most impassioned and impoverished." --Publishers Weekly "[The School on Heart's Content Road] captures the complexities of a contemporary rural militia with eccentricity and raconteurish pluck, proving in the process that a story about gun-toting Mainers can actually be charming." --Michael Miller, Time Out



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About the Hardcover

Publisher Grove Press
Publish date 11/04/2014
Pages 691
ISBN-13 9780802119452
ISBN-10 080211945X
Language English

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