Posted in:

Wild Abandon

Wild Abandon is a novel of modern times reflecting on the damage of the past, and is certainly not one for the faint hearted. Almost mesmeric in style, the fascination with the torturous plot becomes almost addictive as we join with Will as he arrives in New York, heartbroken and in need of change in his life.

Nothing in Australia is right; his family is pressuring him, he feels depressed after his relationship failed, he needs a change and has made the decision to say yes to anything that is offered him. He is a somewhat self-pitying young man and although feels he is able to take on life’s challenges, sadly he is ill prepared for the journey about to be undertaken.

In his case it is a ‘be careful what you wish for’, as he meets up with Vietnam Vet Wayne Gage, an exotic animal collector and spirit guide, a man who is damaged, who is on a headlong pathway to destruction.

So much of the story is relevant to the life of so many young people seeking alternatives through the world of drugs and alcohol, both of which are laced lavishly throughout the work, as is the ‘second’ part of the novel based on a real life event that occurred in Zanesville, Ohio on 19 October 2011.

Bitto has combined both elements with a rare skill, that while the storyline is not at all complex, reflects the self-indulgent cruelty that is prevalent in today’s world, particularly so with the establishment of many ‘private’ zoos, a phenomena of the post-Vietnam era and the craving for some form of identity or recognition.

Wild Abandon is a challenging read; confrontational and tragic as the life of two people play out in such a depressing and destructive manner. Perhaps a good summation is looking forward, looking back, two side of an equation both of which reflect how little we understand the psychology of who we a really are as a human race.

Author Emily Bitto
Publisher Allen & Unwin
ISBN 9781760879136
Distributor Allen & Unwin
Released September 2021