Children and Other Wild Animals
Notes on badgers, otters, sons, hawks, daughters, dogs, bears, air, bobcats, fishers, mascots, Charles Darwin, newts, sturgeon, roasting squirrels, parrots, elk, foxes, tigers and various other zoolog
In Children and Other Wild Animals, bestselling novelistBrian Doyle (Mink River, The Plover) describesencounters with astounding beings of every sort and shape. These truetales of animals and human mammals (generally the smaller sizes, buthere and there elders and jumbos) delightfully blur the line betweenthe two.
In these short vignettes, Doyle explores the seethe of life on thisstartling planet, the astonishing variety of our riveting companions,and the joys available to us when we pause, see, savor, and celebratethe small things that are not small in the least.
Doyle’s trademark quirky prose is at once lyrical, daring, andrefreshing; his essays are poignant but not pap, sharp but not sermons,and revelatory at every turn. Throughout there is humor and humilityand a palpable sense of wonder, with passages of reflection so true andhard earned they make you stop and reread a line, a paragraph, apage.
Children and Other Wild Animals gathers previouslyunpublished work with selections that have appeared in Orion,The Sun, Utne Reader, High Country News, andThe American Scholar, as well as Best American Essays(“The Greatest Nature Essay Ever”) and Best AmericanNature and Science Writing (“Fishering”). “TheCreature Beyond the Mountain,” Doyle’s paean to the mightyand mysterious sturgeon of the Pacific Northwest, won the JohnBurroughs Award for Outstanding Nature Essay. As he notes in thattribute to all things “sturgeonness”:
“Sometimes you want to see the forest and not the trees.Sometimes you find yourself starving for what’s true, and notabout a person but about all people. This is how religion and fascismwere born, but it’s also why music is the greatest of arts, andwhy stories matter, and why we all cannot help staring at fires andgreat waters.”
When Brian Doyle blurs the line between prose and poetry, he honorsboth, and when he blurs the line between children and animals, hehonors both as well. In his universe, language is too wild to beconfined to a single genre, just as living things (human and otherwise)are too wild to be confined to separate niches. Doyle makes us feel thealiveness of all of the above—words, newts, hummingbirds,infants, teenagers—in essays as fervent as prayers.
Receive the latest UBC Press news, including events, catalogues, and announcements.Subscribe to our newsletter now
Read past newsletters