In this triptych of linked stories, a working-class family goes about seemingly ordinary lives—on a camping trip, or participating in “take your family to work day.” In the hands of Dustin M. Hoffman, however, things are not quite as ordinary as they seem. Quickly, these scenarios are flung down a surreal rabbit hole filled with bizarre taxidermy museums, and an outrageous relationship involving a silverback gorilla. Yet, amid all of its convention-smashing glee, Secrets of the Wild reveals a generous and moving portrait of a family, a family doing their best to keep it together—to play-act at normalcy, even sanity—in an American landscape slipping into madness.
secrets of the wild
"Hoffman doesn’t just bend genres, he twists them into balloon animals, creating blue-collar surrealism that melds strangeness with soul, gallows humor with heart. For all the wild beasts mentioned in these stories, none is wilder than the one inside the Everyman, desperate for peace and prosperity in a world gone quietly mad."
— Adam Schuitema, author of Haymaker
“I love the scrappy patriarch of Dustin M. Hoffman’s Secrets of the Wild. As the owner of an alternator repair shop, he takes pride in his ability to fix broken things that most people would just replace. His idealism is the crux of many of his struggles in this trilogy of off-kilter stories in which he takes his family to a roadside wildlife museum, a zoo, an art museum, and Take-Your-Family-to-Work Day. With Hoffman behind the wheel, these excursions are surreal, funny, and terrifically endearing.”
— Michelle Ross, author of There's So Much They Haven't Told You
"Few writers working today care as deeply for their characters as Dustin M. Hoffman. In these stories, it is possible to be both dignified and kind of a mess, to make terrible mistakes for the noblest of reasons, to find yourself in troubles whose causes you know you should barely let yourself understand. These stories are deeply human, keen to the everyday wonders of romance, family, and work." — Matt Bell, author of A Tree or a Person or a Wall