A trio of Bigfoot hunters scours the Olympic Peninsula for cryptids and redemption in this new literary novel from Rau (Caveman at the End of the World, 2017, etc.).
Louis Price and Lydia Swane arrive at the Olympic Museum of Cryptozoological Studies to see its new exhibit: a supposedly authentic Bigfoot. Lydia, who has been searching for Bigfoot for four decades, isn’t impressed: The museum curator won’t tell her the origin of the already taxidermic specimen, nor will he let her take a hair sample or even a photograph. It’s just another disappointment that makes Lydia, who has recently lost her husband and partner, question if Bigfoot is even out there. “The whole world has changed since I started doing this: now, everyone’s got a high resolution camera in their pocket all the time,” she tells Louis. “In spite of that, instead of seeing more, better quality images of Bigfoot, as one would expect, we’re seeing fewer.” Louis is a believer, but he hasn’t been completely honest about why he asked to tag along on Lydia’s trip. A frequent guest on a right-wing talk show, he has been having his own doubts about his life choices (as well as panic attacks). The unlikely pair set off on a trip around Washington’s remote Olympic Peninsula on a last-ditch attempt to locate proof of America’s great cryptid. When they meet Clyde Whitethunder, a giant man and fellow seeker, the trio finds that together they might uncover answers to questions they haven’t even asked. Rau’s writing is moody and lean, presenting a haunted, melancholy portrait of the peninsula and its denizens: “Everything up here, to Louis’s eyes, seemed somehow temporary. Maybe it was the emptiness of the streets….Maybe it was the fact that the sky had devoured the mountains behind the town and seemed so hungry to eat up anything else it could.” Despite the goofiness of the premise, Rau takes his characters and their search seriously, digging past the footprints and blurry photos to find the broken lives underneath. The author manages to sneak some satisfying twists into the plot—and not of the type that the reader probably expects.
An entertaining, nuanced novel set among the world of Bigfoot hunters.