Sid Marty's "The Black Grizzly of Whiskey Creek" is as good as nature writing gets
Marty's latest, The Black Grizzly of Whiskey Creek, is a work of poetic genius. Written in the form of a non-fiction novel, the book combines the best of hard and serious investigative reporting with the narrative power of the finest literary journalism. It moves along at the clip of a detective story.
It's also a daring work of the imagination – much of the action in The Black Grizzly unfolds from the perspective of a bear. This is an ambitious, almost reckless idea, but Marty actually carries it off. It's not just because he' such a skilled and methodical craftsman. It's also because Marty understands bears. He knows bears better than most people know their cats.
This is a book about bears and people, their respective customs and habits, and their ancient and elaborate relationships. It's also about the complexities involved in managing contemporary human-bear interactions.
But it's also a forensic reconstruction of a series of singular, horrific events that occurred in a particular place, at a particular time, and it's about a very specific and especially dangerous bear, in a place that came to be known as "the most dangerous place in Banff National Park," during a year that was singularly cruel for both bears and the people they came in contact with throughout the western half of North America. . .
That's from a review of mine in the latest Canadian Geographic magazine, but the review isn't on-line, so go out and buy the magazine, or read some of what it offers on-line here, or better yet, go out and buy Marty's book.