Posted in arc, reviews

Wolf Nation Brenda Peterson

wolfnationcover

The publisher kindly gave me this book in exchange for an honest review.  This book begins with the author giving us a glimpse of her childhood, outlining how she was brought up in a rural family and taught to respect, love, and protect all of nature.  That ideal shines through this work.  It’s basically about how humans and animals, in this case Wolves, interact.  It’s about our relationship with nature.

 

It explores the various mythologies, both; negative and positive, that surround the Wolf.  The author deconstructs historical, and present day stories, explaining how these narratives have shaped our relationships with the Wolf. The author explores the way that ‘western man’ has sought to domesticate and tame nature; both, in their European homeland and those countries that they went onto colonialise. She argues that modern ‘mans’ attempts to dominate and domesticate nature have affected those creatures, like the wolf, who continually oppose ‘mans’ domination. She looks at the horrendous treatment that humans have meted out to Wolves, outlining the way that Wolves have; been hunted to near extinction, poisoned, and exterminated.   She explores the hostility some people feel towards wolves and their advocates.

 

She narrates the alternative, more positive ways to view the wolves.    Peterson looks at the programs put in place, throughout America with the sole aim of bringing these animals back to the places they belong.  We get a glimpse of the lives of the people and animals who are living/working to change humanities perception of wolves and their role in our world.

 

The author looks at the way that the reintroduction of wolves to their natural habitats has had a positive effect on those spaces and the beings that inhabit them.  However, she then argues that studies have shown that it is not enough to reintroduce one, land mark, species.   If you want a thriving natural world, all species, both large and small, must be allowed to play their part.

 

Peters makes a strong case of how engaging with, and learning from, nature can have a positive effect on our physical and psychological wellbeing, giving examples of the individuals, from school children to troubled adults, who have sought nature and the positive benefits that these encounters have brought them.  She makes a strong narrative case of the interdependence of all living things, arguing how one species controls and supports others. She explains how we all play a role in protecting the world in which we live and the natural settings that surround us, arguing that no species can be eliminated without series consequences to other aspects of nature.   This book makes the reader have all the feels and It’s a must read.

 

 

 

 

Posted in arc, reviews

The unseen by Roy Jacobsen

​The Unseen

By Roy Jacobsen, trans. Don Bartlett and Don Shaw

 

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This book has been shortlisted for the Man International Booker prize and was inspired by the time that the author spent on a small island;    

‘The novel was written on an island similar to Banøy off the northern Norwegian coast, where my family comes from, and where I partly grew up. I still spend three to four months a year in a house that I have built myself on this island, the best place for me to work, ever.’ http://themanbookerprize.com/news/unseen-interview

The same interview tells us that; 

‘The book is a modern portrait of a lifestyle that is long gone, a family living on a small island in the northern part of Norway, living on what they can catch and hunt and find in the sea. A gargantuesque drama – Man vs Nature – as seen through the eyes of a little girl coming of age who eventually – as her parents die – is obliged to take charge, become the master of the island, on whom everyone else depends.. ‘

This book traces the lives of an isolated family; their births, their marriages, their goals and ambitions, their individual achievements and tragedies, and their deaths. It traces their attempts to build new structures on their island, battling against nature and taking them generations to accomplish.

This book is an atmospheric look at  life on a small island and the people who live on it. It traces their struggles with the natural world. It explores the changes occurring in society, their effects on this family, their attempts to adapt and the things that they lose in their attempts to adapt. They fight to get a regular boat service to their island. They must pay the prize – a lighthouse which will destroy their isolated lives and turn  self sufficient individuals into tied, dependent, wage earners.
This is a quiet book about a quiet island.  It is slow paced, occasionally dragging, mirroring the often slow and boring life of the island.  If you like fast paced stories, filled with high stakes dramas, then this book is not for you.  However, if you like picturesque stories, set in rural settings, then you will like this book.