I know Blair Braverman from her excellent Twitter threads detailing the exciting lives of her sled dogs. Knowing what a great storyteller she is, I couldn't wait to pick up her debut novel Small Game, which truly impressed me. In it, a survival reality show leaves four strangers fighting for their lives without a safety net as they figure out how to lean on each other and contemplate what they're each living for. Insightful and tense with action.— Kelly
A gripping debut novel about a survival reality show gone wrong that leaves a group of strangers stranded in the northern wilds
Four strangers and six weeks: this is all that separates Mara from one life-changing payday. She was surprised when reality TV producers came knocking at Primal Instinct—the survival school where she teaches rich clients not to die during a night outdoors—and even more shocked to be cast in their new show, Civilization. Now she just has to live off the land with her fellow survivors for long enough to get the prize money.
Whisked by helicopter to an undisclosed location, Mara meets her teammates: The grizzled outdoorsman. The Eagle Scout. The white-collar professional. And Ashley, the beautiful but inexperienced one who just wants to be famous. Mara’s unusual, rugged childhood has prepared her for the discomforts and hard work ahead. But trusting her fellow survivors? Not part of Mara’s skill set.
When the cast wakes one morning to find something has gone horribly wrong, fear ripples through the group. Are the producers giving them an extra challenge? Or are they wrapped up in something more dangerous? Soon Mara and the others face terrifying decisions as “survival” becomes more than a game.
A provocative exploration of the comforts, rituals, and connections we depend upon, Small Game is a gripping page-turner and a poignant story about finding the courage to build a new life from the ground up.
BLAIR BRAVERMAN is a writer, dogsledder, and adventurer who uses innovative storytelling to make the outdoors accessible. She is the author of Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube, a contributing editor to Outside magazine, and a contributor to The New York Times, Vogue, This American Life, and elsewhere. She lives in the northwoods with her husband, Quince Mountain, and their team of sled dogs.
"Gripping action in untamed nature—as if Wild and Into the Wild gave birth to this thriller." — People
“If I was allowed one book to help me navigate the often inhospitable world in which we live, I’d choose Blair Braverman’s Small Game. It is so sharply written, brilliantly paced, and perfectly illuminates the struggle to survive without losing the piece of yourself that makes you who you are. Braverman is wildly talented, a force of nature, and I will read anything she writes because I know it’s been crafted by an expert.” — Kevin Wilson, author of Nothing to See Here
“I challenge anyone to put down Small Game once they have started reading. This masterful debut novel will scare you to pieces, then show you how to put yourself together again.” — Sarah Marshall, host of You're Wrong About
“In a page-turner powered by wit and plot twist, the biggest surprise may be that Blair Braverman has written one of the smartest—and most humane—satires of our media age as a tale of wilderness survival. Or maybe satire is too modest a word for this slyly ambitious novel. Small Game is an antidote to doom--funny, frightening, romantic, and, like its woodswoman heroine, alert to both danger and possibility.”
— Jeff Sharlet, bestselling author of The Family and The Undertow
“[Braverman’s] wilderness know-how is put to good use in her first novel… Braverman does a great job of developing the characters, building suspense and raising the stakes…A propulsive read” — Kirkus
“Propulsive and twisty, Small Game is a gripping thrill ride about human nature at its best and its worst.” — Esquire
“Skillfully blends psychological suspense with some nuanced modern-day themes …. Braverman draws on her extensive outdoors experience to bring alive the gritty details of the survival camp, and her characters are simultaneously engaging and terrifying as they battle nature and each other to stay alive.” — Library Journal (starred review)