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His method results in essays which are individualistic, loosely structured, and which move easily from one subject to another, often within a single paragraph.
The more Ben's following increases, the more author Hoagland gets caught up in the whirling dervish of his own prose.
Finally Ben becomes a real Pied Piper to his nimble mouse pack….
"Cat Man" is a chronicle of the circus laborers, told with the same microscopic detail that Melville lavished on whaling.
Structurally it is hardly a novel; it is a minute dissection of the circus' sinews.
This book is as remarkable as the landscape and people that it describes.
Like the Kispiox River, it is all "dazzle and slash"; it's as exuberant as a prospector who finds a five-dollar nugget lying on the ground and as full of freshness and life as the stream where any man could pull out bushels of silvery salmon with his bare hands. 94) Notes from the Century Before is a document unlike any I have ever read, and it has left me with a feeling of the vast country to our north that we know so little about.
Exploring by bush plane, boat and foot, Hoagland gives an account [of the interior wilds of British Columbia in "Notes from the Century Before"] at once blunt and rhapsodic of this demi-paradise and its self-exiled inhabitants. But now, a mere three years since the author's first journey, the last frontier, or last Eden, has practically disappeared under helicopters and neon.
Hoagland's lyric account, therefore, becomes all the more eloquent, for it records not only a fading ideal but is, finally, a parable—and warning—for America.
Hoagland's "Cat Man" and "The Circle Home" showed keener insight and hipper prose.
This time he seems to be writing for the Great American Everybody all at once, and "Peacock" turns out to be something less proud—no fantail charmer but a risible gooney bird that flaps its wings wildly but never gets off the ground. But gold cloaked a more interesting, and more persistent, motive in human nature: man's need to pit himself against a savage and magnificent wilderness—and come out alive.