THE FOXMAN by Gary Paulsen


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Set during the Korean war, this combination wilderness/anti-war story is narrated by a fifteen-year-old boy sent by the court to his Uncle's northern Minnesota farm after "my folks decided to stay drunk all the time." While hunting, he's caught in a storm and stumbles onto the shack of the Foxman, a "wodsy" who's lived as a recluse since a war injury left him hideously scarred. The boy is repelled at first, but he returns often to talk with the old man; he learns wood-lore, and listens to the Foxman rail about a world of "steel against flesh," and "science against beauty." Meanwhile, back at the farm, the men's nightly round-the-woodstove war stories pale, even though the Foxman excuses them as attempts to "pluck a rose from the manure." When the old man dies after rescuing the boy from yet another storm, he and his shack are burned in a funeral pyre. It's slickly written, with the North Woods dialect and descriptions of primitive subsistence farming to add some verisimilitude. But the boy's relationship with the old man seems stagey, and the Foxman himself only a mouthpiece.
Pub Date: April 1st, 1977
ISBN: 0140343113
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1977


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