Sunday book review – Cry of the Wild by Charles Foster

Charles Foster’s previous book, The Screaming Sky (reviewed here)  was so good that I made it one of my books of 2021 (click here) and that made me keen to read this book.  I wasn’t at all disappointed but Cry of the Wild is a very different book and may not be to everyone’s taste – although it was to mine.

The book consists of eight stories about eight individual animals (fox, orca, human, mayfly, rabbit, gannet, otter, eel). The stories are told in an anthropomorphic manner, entering the individual’s thoughts, emotions and intentions but this is gritty, intelligent anthropomorphism rather than soppy, lazy anthropomorphism. You won’t read a similar new book this year. I was riveted.

Each of the stories is clever (I know that can sound like a criticism in Britain but it is meant as a compliment) and somewhat surprising. I thought all were good and that the mayfly was a tour de force given the subject matter. The author writes in his preface that he was strongly advised to remove a few sentences at the start of one of these stories – I think he was right to stick to his guns and keep them in.

Do we need stories to motivate people to act for nature – as the author claims? Yes, we do. Will this type of story work in that way?  I wouldn’t be so sure, but then everyone is a bit different and with 68 million different people living in the UK it would be surprising if we were all touched by the same things or by the same ways of learning about issues.

This is a powerful book – do read it please.

The cover – I don’t like it – simple as that. I’ll give it 4/10.

Cry of the Wild: eight animals under siege by Charles Foster is published by Doubleday


Buy direct from Blackwell’s – a proper bookshop (and I’ll get a little bit of money from them)


1 Reply to “Sunday book review – Cry of the Wild by Charles Foster”

  1. It sounds a bit like an updated version of Williamson’s tales Tarka,Salar, Brock,Chakchek, Stumberleap etc.
    But my memory of reading those is now a bit hazy.

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