2 cassettes, abridged
Read by William Hootkins
When Dr Ben Givens left his home in Seattle - heading east with his Winchester and his hunting dogs in tow - he never intended to return. It was to be a journey past snow-covered mountains to a place of canyons, sagelands and orchards where, on the verges of the Columbia River, Ben Givens had entered the world and would now take his leave of it. What transpired was not the journey he anticipated.
Dr Ben Givens had been a bypass heart surgeon - adroit and admired in his field. He had been well acquainted with the human body, but its fallibility had been distant from him until a diagnosis of his own condition, which he concealed even from his family.
Since his wife Rachel died nineteen months before, Ben had returned to a pastime of his youth - shooting game birds in canyons and sagelands. It would come to seem an unfathomably cruel choice for his final hours, but then so much unfathomably shifts in Ben's perspective as his intended exit transforms into an eye-opening, life-enhancing diversion.
David Guterson's celebrated, involving prose and narrative genius unravel the mysteries and reveal the potential powers of the human spirit even as it ebbs, in a moving and action filled drama set against an unforgettable landscape.