- About the Book
A dark, fantastical, multi-generational tale about a family whose patriarch is consumed by the hunt for the mythical, elusive sasquatch he encountered in his youthEli Roebuck was nine years old when his mother walked off into the woods with "Mr. Krantz," a large, strange, hairy man who may or may not be a sasquatch. What Eli knows for certain is that his mother went willingly, leaving her only son behind. For the rest of his life, Eli is obsessed with the hunt for the bizarre creature his mother chose over him, and we watch it affect every relationship he has in his long life--with his father, with both of his wives, his children, grandchildren, and colleagues. We follow all of the Roebuck family members, witnessing through each of them the painful, isolating effects of Eli's maniacal hunt, and find that each Roebuck is battling a monster of his or her own, sometimes literally. The magical world Shields has created is one of unicorns and lake monsters, ghosts and reincarnations, tricksters and hexes. At times charming, as when young Eli meets the eccentric, extraordinary Mr. Krantz, and downright horrifying at others, The Sasquatch Hunter's Almanac is boldly imaginative throughout, and proves to be a devastatingly real portrait of the demons that we as human beings all face.
Although it doesn't really have that much to do with Sasquatch, it's an interesting novel about childhood abandonment, teenage rebellion, first and second marriages, and the chaos that love wreaks on families... The Sasquatch Hunter's Almanac is a clunky and often poorly written novel, nevertheless worth reading for its sheer weirdness.... In his negative review of King Kong, Jorge Luis Borges wrote, To keep him from looking the least bit extraordinary, they make him do battle with far more unusual monsters. I felt the same way about this book. Shields's Sasquatch winds up having the same problem most of them do; I can't see him too clearly.
[T]ruth be told, beneath their ornately described weirdness, a few of these characters actually are pretty one-dimensional, and some of the dialogue and interior monologues have as much zip as flat ginger ale. Still, the entertainment quotient of this book remains high overall: Shields' audacious bundling of so many characters and their accompanying plights into one supernaturally tinged story results in a veritable reading roller coaster peaks and valleys of psychological terror, allegorical whimsy, satire and gross-out humor flash by in dizzying turn.... The Sasquatch Hunter's Almanac plays with these ideas, tosses them up into the air, lets them drift back down and shape-shift into curiosities and strangeisms. Finally, it bats them your way so that you, too, may be confounded, provoked and charmed.