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The Loop Hardcover – September 8, 1998

254 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

Things aren't going too well for wolf biologist Helen Ross. At 29, she's unemployed (recently retired dishwasher), single (boyfriend of two years left her for Africa), and has just learned that her father is marrying someone younger, richer, and prettier than herself (completely accurate). Back in her lonely log cabin in Cape Cod, frantically chain-smoking, she receives a message from her former lover Dan Prior. Prior, also a biologist, works for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service wolf-recovery program. In return for helping him track the lupine posse, Prior will provide her with a cabin, truck, and a snowmobile for good measure in a rustic little town called Hope, just outside of Helena, Montana. Apparently, Ross has never heard the proverb "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is," and happily skips off to Big Sky Country.

Within moments of her arrival, she finds out what she's up against: a small town with a long history of wolf fear and loathing, no resources (big surprise), and a powerful rancher who will do whatever it takes to eliminate the wolves. The rancher, testosterone-saturated Buck Calder, has got the community riled up after a wolf stalked his daughter's home and killed the family dog. He won't stop until every last endangered wolf is dead, which proves problematic for Ross when she decides to romance his 18-year-old son, Luke. Cynics be warned: their love affair spawns a trove of gooey pillow talk and syrupy prose. Even so, Evans has made impressive strides as a writer since his debut novel, The Horse Whisperer, and his storytelling has reached a noticeably new level of sophistication: the plot is tight, the characterization is realistic, and the dialogue is crisp. --Rebekah Warren

From Publishers Weekly

Fans of Evans's bestselling debut, The Horse Whisperer, may find that this issue-oriented follow-up is a case of deja vu. Montana is again the setting, animals are crucial to the plot and a love story between dissimilar people is the heart-tugger. The bitter debate over the reintroduction of wolves into the American West provides the hook. After the book opens with the killing of a family dog by a stray wolf, the battle lines are quickly and clearly drawn. The wolf-hating cowboys are led by quintessential alpha male Buck Calder, the region's biggest rancher, bully and philanderer. Primary opposition comes from wolf biologist Helen Ross, a despised Easterner hired to keep the wolves safe from ranchers and more selective about their predation. She eventually teams up?professionally and romantically?with Calder's stuttering, insecure son Luke, much to his father's disgust. This underplayed romance is nicely done, as is the burgeoning revolt within the Calder household by Luke and Eleanor, Buck's surprisingly self-possessed wife. But Evans once again shows himself capable of graceless writing. As if preparing for the inevitable casting call, detailed character studies occupy large portions of the initial 100 pages, preempting later, subtler disclosures. His passages on wolf behavior read like mediocre nature film scripts. The novel is more a work of ideology than imagination. Among its overt messages: man is out of sync with nature; the New West is full of lonely, emotionally scarred people licking their wounds; and wolves make better alpha males than humans do. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club main selection; author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 434 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press; 1st edition (September 8, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 038531700X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568659763
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.4 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (254 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,074,195 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nicholas Evans studied law at Oxford University after serving in Africa with Voluntary Service Overseas. He then worked as a newspaper reporter, TV producer, and screenwriter before writing four bestselling novels. His first book, The Horse Whisperer was made into a movie directed by Robert Redford. He lives in Devon with his wife, singer/songwriter Charlotte Gordon Cumming.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By J. Lizzi on May 20, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a book with lots of interesting elements: hard-working inhabitants in a rugged setting, untamed wildlife, government regulation versus frontier freedom, and sharp characters in a well-developed plot.
Author Nicholas Evans has done an outstanding job of putting both his heart and mind into a story of how nature can get in the way of man's endeavors ... and vice versa. He demonstrates his ability to keep several sub-plots (involving romance, suspense, struggle) going at once, and to connect them in the reader's mind without impeding the flow of the story. His characterizations are quite strong, and I found myself figuring out very quickly who was to be liked, and who wasn't. Even the animals had personalities. Though I'm not in the top tier of nature enthusiasts, I thoroughly enjoyed reading and learning about the environment of wolves, the toil of ranchers and trappers, and how simple--and hard--life can be in beautiful Montana (I've visited; it's gorgeous).
Overall, I found "The Loop" (named after a trap for catching wolves) to be very well-paced (no slow chapters) and captivating. The evolving story line really kept me turning the pages, and even though the ending unwound just a little too fast for my taste, I'd recommend this book to anyone desiring a solid, satisfying novel.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Charity Van Vleet on July 6, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Do the words "The Horse Whisperer" remind you of Nicholas Evans? Ah yes, I see you nodding your head. Did you read the book or maybe see the movie? Both were excellent and his newest book "The Loop" is no exception. Once more Evans has masterfully portrayed the savageness and beauty of the human spirit at the same time making us treasure the magnificence of nature that surrounds us.
The small western town of Hope, Montana thrives on the cattle ranchers that inhabit the area. When wolf biologist, Helen Ross comes to town due to claims of wolves attacking children and cattle, she almost gets more than she bargained for. Buck Calder proves to be a worthwhile adversary as she struggles to prove the innocence of the wolves and keep the town from shooting them all. With a population of about 519 wolf haters, it's not an easy task convincing these people the motives behind the actions of these animals.
This is an excellent book and a seamless read. The slow beginning is a clever disguise for a fast-paced riveting novel that you won't be able to put down until you finish it. This is definitely a book that will make you laugh and cry alternately every moment until the very end.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Ellen Isaacs on July 20, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"The Loop" takes place mainly in Montana ranch country and focuses on the tension between ranchers and naturalists over the right of wolves to roam free on land that is owned by or leased to ranchers, who resent losing expensive cattle to the wolves. It also tells the story of a woman, Helen, who has had bad luck with men, and Luke, the awkward teenage son of the town's most prominent rancher who doesn't share his father's political views. Helen comes to town to help study the wolves and the stage is set for a relationship that reflects the political conflict.
Although I enjoyed learning a little bit about the life of the wolves, I'm afraid I found this book predictable and unsophisticated. It was a major flaw that not a single sympathetic character was on the side of the ranchers, who I believe have equally as legitimate a claim as the naturalists. Instead, the father, Buck Calder, is presented as the voice of the ranchers, and he's made out to be a phony, narcissitic, insecure, philandering man who intimidates his sensitive son and props up his ego by hitting on attractive women. Even when he makes reasonable arguments for the ranchers, you dislike him so much that you take them to be motivated by his need to seem important. Evans even goes so far as to create a thinly drawn character who has dedicated his life to killing wolves and yet, in the end, decides that what he's done is wrong for reasons that, if they were ever going to have an impact, should have convinced him years before we met him. It seems to me that if you're going to write a book about this subject, you should make an effort to present both sides of the complex issue fairly.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jen on June 2, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This man Is an amazing author. I've read all of his books but this one is my favourite (if I was forced to choose!).

Nicholas Evans is the sort of author who can really take you top the heart of the book. He achieves this by 1) describing the characters' histories. He is very detailed, it is not just a quick statement ("Helen always struggled with her bodily image" etc) but at the beginning odf the book the main characters get their own sections describing their histories so you really feel like you know them and get a feel of their past, present and future plus understand more about why they interact with each other the way they do.

Also, Evans distributes references to their pasts throughout the book, but not in an intrusive way, it follows on the event as if someone was speaking.

I have heard people mutter "cliche" about this book. DONT LISTEN TO THEM!! I don't think they are too clihed and anyway who cares? It is such a beautiful read - exquisite descriptions the whole way through, very easy to imagine pictures/sounds/smells etc. The dialogue is natural and even funny in places.

I felt i genuinely cared for the characters and even including the wolves. he has done a wonderful job describing them, presenting them not just as the sinisteer animals who howl in the night but those who teach and play with their children. He has obviously done his wolf research.

If i had to sum up to book in one word i would say RICH.
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