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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on May 20, 2001
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
on July 6, 2000
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
on July 20, 2000
"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. (As much as I believe in protecting wildlife, it seems to me most of us would resent it if the government told us that we couldn't defend ourselves against something that directly threatened our hard-earned livelihood even when we're on our own property. The issue is not as simple as Big Bad Greedy People vs Good-Hearted Altruistic People.)
Although I liked Helen and Luke, I wasn't completely convinced by Evans' portrayal of Helen as she gets over her failed relationship. There were some other somewhat interesting characters, though they weren't as multidimensional as I'd have liked. In general, people underwent what are in real life difficult transformations simply by waking up one day and suddenly realizing the right thing to do. On the whole, the book was an easy read, a nice break from some of the more demanding books I've been reading, but not one I'd recommend.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 2, 2006
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2006
The Loop--- an excellent read of the 'can't-put-it-down-variety; Major characters are well defined, and the minor ones look like stories waiting to happen.

The tension and animosity between Buck and his family, and his 'other' personality as the 'good old boy' is sadly too true in this world we live in. I would have liked to see character Luke as a couple of years older, with just a little more ' life experience' behind him to more realistically explain to the reader on the NICE kind of guy he is; and I would have liked to see character Helen a a year or two younger, and more aware of her strengths and good qualities.

The characters Eleanor, Kathy, Dan and Ruth seem like they each should have a book about them.

Loved the outdoor descriptions. I won't say more, because this is a REALLY GOOD READ, and you should read it!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 3, 2000
I am not a big reader of nature novels, but Evans has successfully introduced me to a whole new genre of literature. Not only has Evans given a very vivid portrayal of life in small town Montana, his imagery made me feel like I was in the story. The main plot was very well developed and easy to follow even if the reader has no background in the subject. However, even more inviting are the several subplots that develop throughout the course of events. The slowly developing romance between two of the favorite main characters pulled me in to the point where I had to put the book down and take a break... so simple, but so well written that I felt as though it were happening to me. The last few chapters left me speechless, and I must admit, I shed a tear or two! A GREAT READ!
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on December 10, 1999
The Loop was a Gripping and Intringuing, one of the best I have read. Nicholas Evens couldn't have wrote this any better. The characters seemed real and life like. The book takes place in Hope, Montana in the middle of the Rocky Mountians. Helen Ross is a fish and wild life officer who is a wolf bioligist. She tries to protect the wolfs from a city that dislikes the wolfs. She is went to Hope to study the wolves and is found to fall in love with Buck Calder Son. While this is going on she must try to move the wolves back into the rockies while a rancher tries to kill them from years of hatred by using a method called "the loop." I enjoyed the book very much because it had a difference of love and action. I recomend this book its a amazing story of the wolf and it tells what happened to them many years ago and how they survive today.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2000
Nicholas Evan's work is underrated by critics while having an avid following of readers. I loved The Horse Whisperer and hesitated to read The Loop based on reviews. What a pleasant surprise! Mr. Evans excellent understanding of the conflict between animal activists, ranchers and environmentalists gives the reader an unbiased perspective. The wolves are not "all good", the ranchers not "all bad" and love between two lonely people is developed with believable hesitancy. Readers will find this book both captivating and enlightening. Won't believe what the critics say about Evan's next book - will automatically want to read it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 31, 2004
When I picked up this novel at the library and saw its picture of wolves against a silhoutte on the cover, I knew I have found the right book. I love the mood of stories where animals are involved, and this one is no different. I soon found myself speeding through the book and finished it in five days despite the fat that I was busy with many other things. I especially find the love part well-written. Unlike other books like Heather Graham's Haunted and Runaway, when the lovers simply have an affair for no reason at all except lust, the two lovers in this book actually have a story behind their great intimacy. You actually feel for their love and it is indeed romantic.

No stories are without flaws and The Loop is of course a distance from perfect. One of the greatest drawbacks is its slowness. The majority of the story is talking and discussing, and actions and excitement only makes up a single branch if the whole story were a tree. If it were not for my deep interests in reading about animals, I would have been snoozing and this book would take fifty days instead of five.

Still, I am happy I have chosen this book. Thanks to the story, I now have a greater interest in wildlife conservation. I recommend reading Fire Bringer by David Clement-Davies along with this book. Both tales are heart-warming and teach us about animals and life.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 28, 1999
I loved this book. I had bought it this summer and left it sitting one the shelf. This fall a new reading program was instituted at my school. So inorder to be a positive role model for my students I also read for the required time. I was very impressed with this book that I would stay up and read until early morning. What really impressed me was the realistic view of Montana ranch life. Growing up on an Angus ranch and having very mixed opinions of the wolf reintroduction the book grabbed me. I found my self thinking that the rancher in the book reminded me of someone I knew. At times I had to laugh, but nothing was because a fact was wrong. I think this is one of the best Montana books I have read in a long time. Now I have to gt my copy of the Horse Whisper out and read it. The movie did not do it justice.
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