Death by Landscape

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The climax of the story occurs when the girls participate in a week-long excursion in the wilderness. They set out by canoe after a ceremonious departure. On the second day of the trip, the two girls separate from the other campers to climb a trail to a lookout point; it is a sheer cliff that overlooks the lake. Lucy says she is going to go urinate, yet she does not return. Instead, Lois hears a scream, although she cannot identify it. The campers head back to camp without Lucy; even the police cannot find her. When they return, Cappie insinuates that Lois pushed Lucy.

In retrospect, Lois realizes that Cappie merely needed someone to blame for the unfortunate event, but Lois struggles to let go of her friend. She is also haunted by the wilderness. The protagonist cannot believe that Lucy has died, and for this reason she has been living two lives. At the end of the story, Lois can finally accept the wilderness as part of herself.

Death by Landscape” features a widowed mother, Lois, who is haunted by the wilderness and the disappearance of her friend, Lucy, years earlier. At the beginning of the story, Lois has moved into a new waterfront apartment and is hanging her art collection. The paintings, which are wilderness landscapes, fill her will a sense of unease. Lois recalls her time spent at summer camp between the ages of 11 and 13, and her close friendship with Lucy. By their last year at camp, Lucy seemed to have changed, disillusioned by her parents’ divorce and involved in a relationship with the gardener’s assistant. During a week-long excursion into the wilderness with their camp counsellor, Cappie, Lois and Lucy separate briefly from the other girls and climb a trail to a lookout point over the lake. Lucy says she has to urinate, but doesn’t return, and shortly after Lois hears a scream. The girls, and later the police, find no sign of Lucy or her body. Cappie implies that Lois must have pushed her. Back in her waterfront apartment, closed off...
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