Benjamin Percy

Acclaimed Novelist & Story Writer
Author of The Wilding

 

"Percy skillfully mines the psychic wildernesses of his characters." — Publishers Weekly

 

"Benjamin Percy moves instinctively toward the molten center of contemporary writing, the place where genre fiction, in this case horror, overflows its boundaries and becomes something dark and grand and percipient." —Peter Straub

 

"Benjamin Percy is the best new writer to step into the spotlight in years." —Brady Udall


Benjamin Percy is the author of two novels, The Wilding (Graywolf Press, 2010), winner of the Society of Midland Authors Award for Fiction and the psychological thriller Red Moon (Grand Central/Hachette, 2013); as well as two books of stories, Refresh, Refresh (Graywolf, 2007) and The Language of Elk (Carnegie Mellon, 2006). Percy is currently adapting Red Moon as a series for FOX TV with Oscar-winner Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind, I am Legend, Winter's Tale). Percy's next novel, The Dead Lands, is forthcoming in January 2015. His fiction and nonfiction have been read on National Public Radio; performed at Symphony Space; and published by Esquire, where he is a contributing editor, GQ, Time, Men's Journal, Outside, the Paris Review, Tin House, Chicago Tribune, Orion, The Wall Street Journal, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, and many other magazines and journals. His honors include a National Endowment for the Arts, a Whiting Award, the Plimpton Prize, a Pushcart Prize, and inclusion in Best American Short Stories. His story "Refresh, Refresh" was adapted into a screenplay by filmmaker James Ponsoldt and a graphic novel (First Second Books, 2009) by Eisner-nominated artist Danica Novgorodoff. He teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Pacific University.

Publisher's Weekly Article

LA Times Interview

Profile of Benjamin Percy in the Sunday Oregonian


About RED MOON (Novel, 2013)
Listed as one of 2013's most anticipated books, Publisher's Weekly writes of Red Moon, "Exploring one of the oldest themes in weird fiction—the werewolf—Percy (The Wilding) delivers a stunning alternate history epic that transcends its genre trappings to read as a provocative reflection on the contemporary zeitgeist. At a point where many other writers would flinch, Percy follows through on the direst possibilities of his premise, building to a shocking denouement and even more shock climax in the final pages."


About THE WILDING (Novel, 2010)

"There are a hundred ways to feel frightened and lost in a forest, and the excellent, savvy Benjamin Percy can evoke them all. The Wilding, a brilliant literary novel that feels at times almost like Geoffrey Household's classic Rogue Male, seems to have been written on his vibrating nerve-endings. This book is filled with dread, sadness, tension and a tireless vision of mankind's thoughtless devastation of an ancient and more authentic way of life. It is almost impossible to put down. James Dickey must have been whispering to Ben Percy in his sleep." —Peter Straub

Percy's excellent debut novel digs into the ambiguous American attitude toward nature as it oscillates between Thoreau's romantic appreciation and sheer gothic horror. The plot concerns a hunting trip taken by Justin Caves and his sixth-grade son, Graham, with Justin's bullying father, Paul, a passionate outdoorsman in failing health who's determined to spend one last weekend in the Echo Canyon before real estate developer Bobby Fremont turns the sublime pocket of wilderness into a golfing resort. Justin, a high school English teacher, has hit an almost terminally rough patch in his marriage to Karen, who, while the boys camp, contemplates an affair with Bobby, though she may have bigger problems with wounded Iraq war vet Brian, a case study in creepy stalker. The men, meanwhile, are being tracked by a beast and must contend with a vengeful roughneck roaming the woods. A taut plot and cast of deeply flawed characters—Justin is a masterwork of pitiable wretchedness—will keep readers rapt as peril descends and split-second decisions come to have lifelong repercussions. It's as close as you can get to a contemporary Deliverance (PW, Starred Review). Pam Houston writes that The Wilding is "[n]ot your father's eco-novel. In compelling, image-driven prose, Benjamin Percy confounds the old polarities about wilderness and development by sending three generations of men into a doomed canyon, and letting so much hell break loose we can't tell the heroes from the villains-which feels exactly right. This is a dark, sly, honest, pleasing, slip-under-your-skin-and-stay-there kind of a book.”

About REFRESH, REFRESH: STORIES (Stories, 2007)
Percy's second collection (following The Language of Elk) traces lives led in rural Oregon's fractured, mostly poor communities. The title story (selected for The Best American Short Stories 2006), presents Josh, a young man from small-town Tumalo who watches as men who signed up as Marine reservists for beer pay leave to fight in the Iraq War, including Josh's father. As Josh's unreliable first person details a deer hunt, the escapades of the town recruitment officer and the less-and-less frequent e-mails from his father, tension slowly builds. Set during a blackout, "The Caves in Oregon" follows geology teacher Becca and her husband, Kevin, as they explore a network of caves beneath their home, grappling to understand each other in the wake of a miscarriage. "Meltdown" imagines a nuclear disaster in November 2009, while the menacing Whisper opens with the accidental late-life death of Jacob, leaving his brother, Gerald, to care for Jacob's stroke-impaired wife. Percy's talent for putting surprising characters in difficult contemporary settings makes this a memorable collection. —Publisher's Weekly

Benjamin Percy website