A novel that works on our nerves, The Wilderness examines human flesh in all its gruesome fascination: disease, madness, hunger. By day, the story describes the winding streets, filth and poverty of the Indian coastal town of Cochin, as seen from the carriage of a three-wheeled trishaw—the ring of its bell a lament and a warning. By night, it follows the crooked path of the dead cart, collecting the deceased—or the nearly deceased. Its narrator creeps through the halls of a whorehouse, catching sight of himself in a mirror—pale, fearful. Death, the narcissist.
The Wilderness, my first novel, was begun in Africa in 1963, while I worked for a traveling magician. It is a strange little book, and it had to wait 36 years to find a publisher daring enough to publish it.
Text and photos copyright D.N. Stuefloten.