‘Loon Man’, by John Edgar Wideman

I read this story in a book of Wideman’s stories I was sent to review for my student newspaper. I’d never heard of Wideman, and his name isn’t much mentioned today. Although I eventually lost my copy, or gave it away, a couple of its stories have stayed with me over the years, especially one I remembered as ‘Loon Lake’: a haunting thing set somewhere in rural North America – the heart of the heart of the country – with the calls of loons (divers) echoing around remote shacks at night. I reunited myself with the collection via the internet, and although there are other stories in it I now think are better (‘Across the Wide Missouri’ for instance), it’s ‘Loon Man’ that belongs in my anthology, for the way it lodged in my consciousness and coloured my thoughts for more than twenty years. “On full moon nights the loons howl like crazed dogs.”

(first published in the U.S. in All Stories are True; the same title was used for his Picador UK collected stories, which is where I read it)

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