It all starts with an impossibly large set of tracks, footprints for a creature that could not possibly exist. The words sasquatch, bigfoot and yeti never occur in this novel, but that is what most people would call the hairy, nine-foot creature that would become a lifelong obsession for Aidan Fitzpatrick, and in turn, his granddaughter Sandy Langley.
The novel spans the course of single winter day, interspersed with memories from Sandy’s life—childhood days spent with her distracted, scholarly grandfather in a remote cabin in British Columbia’s interior mountains; later recollections of new motherhood; and then the tragic disappearance that would irrevocably shape the rest of her life, a day when all signs of the mysterious creature would disappear for thirty years. When the enigmatic tracks finally reappear, Sandy sets out on the trail alone, determined to find out the truth about the mystery that has shaped her life.
The Wild Heavens is an impressive and evocative debut, containing beauty, tragedy and wonder in equal parts.
“With a rare combination of intelligence, passion, and grace, Sarah Louise Butler immerses readers in a mountain wilderness fully alive in every vivid, meticulously rendered detail. The Wild Heavens offers a profound meditation on absence, transformation, connection, and love. The story of Sandy’s quest makes for a beautiful debut and a touching tribute to life’s most elusive mysteries.”
“Although The Wild Heavens takes place in one day in the immediate present, it encompasses a lifetime of an obsession with the mystery of life and death, that of the known world and the unknown. The narrative is grounded in the author’s extensive knowledge of the BC interior and this gives the quest that drives the story veracity and resonance.”
“The Wild Heavens is a stunning meditation on the imprints we all leave on this strange world. Butler weaves a beautiful observation of nature’s shadowy crevices that mystify and intrigue us”
“The Wild Heavens is wonderfully crafted—each page is a catch of the breath, each chapter a crush of unfolding magic. This novel is why we read. I wanted to begin again as soon as I finished the last line.”
“The deeply atmospheric writing represents a pre-existing world in the Canadian Gothic tradition, which side-steps becoming hackneyed as some speculative fiction can be. Instead, Butler does a masterful job of leaving certain things unsaid. She understands that putting labels to things can break the magic, and that the space between the words is where the real power of this story resides.”
"In The Wild Heavens, Sarah Louise Butler demonstrates an astonishing ability to mix an intense and precise attention to detail regarding the natural world and family life with a powerful and convincing evocation of the inexplicable occurrences and essential mysteries that are aspects of both. Set amid the forests of B.C.’s southern Interior, and depicting a fractured but resilient family, her tale nevertheless speaks truths than apply to any landscape and any household. The result is a gripping read: Butler’s accomplished command of style and story invites readers in and shows them marvels."
“Drawing from elements of the archetypal quest, the romance, the mystery, and the coming-of-age story, this novel is above all a testament to the interdependence of the human and the more-than-human — and a timely reminder that, if there is a dominant power, it is not us. For the energy of its female-driven journey into (super) natural BC interior spaces, Sarah Louise Butler’s The Wild Heavens deserves a place in the august company of writers such as Wilson, Kishkan, and Anderson-Dargatz.”