Guy Grieve (3 stars)

Call of the Wild (Hodder & Stoughton)


For five years, Guy Grieve worked in The Scotsman’s commercial department, climbing to be Head of Strategic Marketing. Driving home every night, his head buzzing with readers’ incentives, Grieve dreamed of escaping to the Alaskan wilderness, a vision that would be realised following a fruitful pitch to his editor. With his family’s full blessing, Grieve departed on a yearlong journey down the Yukon, filing weekly columns.

The rejection of civilisation in favour of simple living and the call of the wild is a theme that has peppered literature from Jack London to Paul Theroux. At times, Grieve’s slavish devotion to the boy’s own adventure style threatens to turn his account into parody. Where his story catches fire is in his breathless depiction of the unique perils of surviving such a harsh environment; the difficulties of building a tent, negotiating the first snows, catching beavers and dodging bears all provide an insight into nature’s cruel beauty.

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