By Drew Magary
When Ben, a suburban family man, takes a business trip to rural Pennsylvania, he decides to spend the afternoon before his dinner meeting on a short hike. Once he sets out into the woods behind his hotel, he quickly comes to realize that the path he has chosen cannot be given up easily. With no choice but to move forward, Ben finds himself falling deeper and deeper into a world of man-eating giants, bizarre demons, and colossal insects.
On a quest of epic, life-or-death proportions, Ben finds help comes in some of the most unexpected forms, including a profane crustacean and a variety of magical objects, tools, and potions. Desperate to return to his family, Ben is determined to track down the “Producer,” the creator of the world in which he is being held hostage and the only one who can free him from the path.
At once bitingly funny and emotionally absorbing, Magary’s novel is a remarkably unique addition to the contemporary fantasy genre, one that draws as easily from the world of classic folk tales as it does from video games. In The Hike, Magary takes readers on a daring odyssey away from our day-to-day grind and transports them into an enthralling world propelled by heart, imagination, and survival.
Okay, I am just going to clear some air right away. I feel like the blurb for The Hike is terrible. I picked this book up after reading a sample. I would never have done so based on the above alone. So please just skip it. It makes sense after having read the story but beforehand is utterly confusing.
While on a business trip, Ben a father and husband, decides to venture out on a hike before an upcoming dinner meeting. But the trek behind his hotel quickly evolves into something much greater as he realizes that leaving the trail is impossible. Determined to find his way back home, he pushes forward. But not without encountering many peculiarities. (Ok so my summary is not much better – this is an impossible story to capture in a matter of sentences.)
“Every book was a door; every page a new place to hide.”
What I appreciated..
- An atypical plotline built upon the unforeseen that delivers something new and unexpected with every page.
- Those occasional laugh out loud moments that I rarely encounter in books.
- The bizarrely insane supporting characters take this story to fantastic heights.
- I am a fan of the weird, and this book is weird. With equal part humor and often nightmarish, it is in a category of its own.
- And ending that packs one hell of a gratifying punch!
“There was nothing to confront here at this beach: no monsters, no past, no future. Everyone left him alone, the ultimate desire of any middle-aged man. The safety of it all wooed him. Coddled him.”
Challenges some may encounter..
- The zany plotline and storytelling can initially feel confusing or choppy.
- The heavy use of allegories.
The Hike is beautifully unconventional, offering something the reader an incredible world. It simply requires a desire to explore and embrace the extraordinary. Those who see Ben through to the end of his journey will find it to be a significantly rewarding one.
This zany read pairs nicely with a fruity herbal blend and splash of honey.
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