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Cry of the Wild

UK Publisher: Transworld

What is it like to live in a world built by humans? These eight genre-blending stories reveal the complexity, beauty and fragility of wild lives – a brilliantly modern twist on classics like Watership Down and Tarka the Otter.

A fox, grown strong on pepperoni pizza from the dustbins of the East End, dances along a railway track towards Essex, the territory of wild foxes and wilder huntsmen.

An orca, mourning the loss of her mother in a valley west of Skye, knows that she must now lead the pod as matriarch. She swims again through her childhood, thinking about the old ways, the old roads, laid down thousands of years ago. But the old roads aren’t so easy now.

At moonrise in a West Country river, an otter floats slowly downstream. The tide, though it pushes him landwards when it exhales, seems to pull him out when it inhales. He turns on his back. He can see the stars clearly for the first time and wonders if he can swim to them.

The wild has never stopped waiting. It has only ever been in exile, right under our noses, waiting to confound, outrage and re-enchant.


‘Foster lingers over relations of kinship, patterns of conviviality and predation and the way animals teach one another ‘the languages of touch, tenderness and self interest’. He avoids the temptations of anthropomorphism while reminding us that we who share these traits are more vulnerably and elegantly animal that we pretend’.

The tales Foster tells are often painful and the behaviour of humans…provoke feelings of shame. But these stories can also inspire…sense of belonging and the same impulse to care for other creatures’. John Burnside in the Literary Review

‘Evocative and beautifully written, it’s a deeply immersive read’ Observer

‘Charles Foster is the most original voice in nature writing today – funny, urgent, poetic, philosophical and deeply moving’ Patrick Barkham

‘Utterly exhilarating… This book demands we change our ways’ Lee Schofield

‘There aren’t many writers like Charles around… a deeply thought-provoking book’ James Aldred

‘Reading this book feels like being made suddenly omniscient. In other words, you really have to’ Tom Moorhouse

‘Astonishingly playful, humorous, immensely varied and outrageously intelligent… The most inventive British writer presently at work on the theme of nature’ Mark Cocker

Charles Foster is a Fellow of Green Templeton College, University of Oxford, where he teaches medical law and ethics. He...