Thursday, July 15, 2021

Fox & I


Fox & I is an introspective and meandering memoir by naturalist Dr. Catherine Raven on her life in an off-grid Montana cabin and her unlikely friendship with a fox who lived in the area. Released 6th July 2021 by Spiegel & Grau, it's 272 pages and is available in hardcover, audio, and ebook format. 

This is such a contemplative book that it's difficult to categorize. It is a memoir, but it's also an expository work on nature, our place in the larger world, our ability to unthinkingly change our environments, our ability to change within ourselves, and what that means in the grand scheme of things. The author is not shy, she holds forth at length on subjects as disparate as domestic cats (lots of antipathy for their uncontrolled and unnatural impact on wildlife), to grownup jobs, friendship, and life. 

Always, wandering through the philosophy and rumination, are the lovely bits of dialogue and bits of rumination from Antoine Saint-Exupéry, and other philosophers, naturalists, and poets. Readers who already love The Little Prince with find an extra measure of enjoyment.

This will be a polarizing book. I predict readers will either adore it or loathe it (and not many will land in the no-man's-land in the middle). I personally felt that although there was a *lot* of navel gazing and rumination (every page, more or less), it affected me deeply and I loved reading it. It wasn't always a comfortable read, but it was effective and the author has a deftness and assurance in her writing. I was also impressed by the fact that Raven became a writer to tell the story instead of the other way around and it gave this story a deeper resonance and relatability.

Five stars. I would recommend it to readers who enjoy naturalist writing and memoirs. 

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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