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Good Reads  Mammals  Insectivores to Ungulates  Carnivores  Wolves, Dogs, Foxes & other Canids

Wolfish The Stories We Tell About Fear, Ferocity and Freedom

Nature Writing New
By: Erica Berry(Author)
417 pages, no illustrations
Publisher: Canongate
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  • Wolfish ISBN: 9781838854638 Paperback Feb 2024 In stock
  • Wolfish ISBN: 9781838854591 Hardback Mar 2023 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 1 week
Selected version: £10.99
About this book Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

Wolves abound through cultural folklore and through literature – vilified and venerated in equal measure. In Wolfish, Erica Berry examines these depictions, alongside her own research of the wolf for nearly a decade, to get to the heart of what our stories about the wolf reveal about our relationships with one another and ourselves: 'What does it mean to want to embody the same creature from which you are supposed to be running?'

The wolf is so often depicted as the male predator, preying on the vulnerable girl/woman who strays from the path; the she-wolf meanwhile depicts women who sit outside the accepted boundaries of feminine behaviour. Berry openly recounts her own uncomfortable and sometimes frightening experiences as a woman to try to understand how we navigate our fears when threat can seem constant.

Through it all, Berry finds new expressions for courage and survival: how to be a brave human and animal member of our fragile, often dangerous world.

Customer Reviews


Erica Berry is a writer based in her hometown of Portland, Oregon. She has an MFA from the University of Minnesota, where she was a College of Liberal Arts Fellow. Her writing has appeared in the Guardian, New York Times Magazine, Yale Review, Outside Magazine, Catapult, Atlantic, Guernica and elsewhere. Winner of the Steinberg Essay Prize and the Kurt Brown Prize in non-fiction, she has received fellowships and funding from the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Tin House, the Ucross Foundation, the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Institute for Journalism and Natural Resources. A former Writer-in-Residence with the National Writers Series in Traverse City, Michigan, she is currently a Writer-in-the-Schools with Literary Arts in Portland.

Nature Writing New
By: Erica Berry(Author)
417 pages, no illustrations
Publisher: Canongate
Media reviews

– A Most Anticipated Book of 2023 for Financial Times, Time, Vulture, Lit Hub, Goodreads, Rumpus, Bustle, Reader's Digest and more

"Berry draws on a huge, rich depository of lupine literature. Wolfish is more than just an interesting exercise in cultural anthropology, though. The book's most obvious ancestor is Helen Macdonald's megahit of 2014, H Is for Hawk; it has that same intellectual range and a prose style that pushes [ [...] ] towards the poetic"
Sunday Time

"A singular book. Reading this will invite you to examine your own walk through the world – hungry, afraid, brave"
– Katherine May

"Startling in its scope, covering everything from fairy tales to domestic violence. This book should be required reading"
LA Times

"Singular [...] a book entirely its own"

"Explores the contours of human relationships – and what it means to be a woman – through this most familiar yet mysterious of creatures"
Financial Times

"Terror propels Erica Berry's exhilarating book [...] No matter where Berry weaves, she sniffs out fascinating insights. And she writes about it in clear, beautiful language"
Washington Post

"I devoured every startling, lyrical, haunting, yet all-too-familiar page of Wolfish. Such a stunning achievement, it left me feeling like one of the pack"
– Elizabeth Rush, author of Rising, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize

"An exhilarating book – intricate, thoughtful, and thick with connections"
– Megha Majumdar, New York Times bestselling author of A Burning

Erica Berry's Wolfish is a marvel: a beautiful piece of work as wide-ranging as it is precise. Berry's keen eye and fresh, startling prose are not only an excellent guide to nature and the world around us, but also to what our reactions to the landscape tell us about ourselves, what we fear and who we might become. You won't want to miss this"
– V. V. Ganeshananthan, author of Love Marriage, longlisted for the Women's Prize

"Elegant and elegiac, Wolfish asks how we live alongside, and honour, both the wilds we do such harm to and the fears that run wild within us. Erica Berry beautifully weaves literature, science, philosophy, history, and her own memories to deconstruct millenia of myth-making around wolves, urging a return to something even more powerful than the tales we've spun: untangling the creature from our fear, to better understand both it and ourselves. This is a book composed of what humanity has made, yes, but above all it's a gorgeous reminder that we, too, are part of nature"
– Alex Marzano-Lesnevich, author of The Fact of a Body

The space between humans and wolves is filled with stories, from fairy tales to family histories to our own fears and desires. With courage and insight, Erica Berry illuminates this tangled territory, inviting us to explore it for ourselves"
– Michelle Nijhuis, author of Beloved Beasts

"Wolfish starts with a single wolf and spirals through nuanced investigations of fear, gender, violence and story. A gorgeous achievement"
– Blair Braverman, author of Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube

Insightful and gorgeously written, Wolfish shows us that stories we tell about predators and prey are always about more than they seem. This exploration of violence and vulnerability never stopped surprising me"
– Rachel Monroe, author of Savage Appetites

"I can't stop talking about Erica Berry's debut Wolfish – it is a passionate and personal portrayal of the wildness in the world and in ourselves. This is a fierce book and an important one. With compelling and lyrical prose that reveals a depth of knowledge and research, Berry looks not just at wolves but the wolf nature in all of us and around us – asking us important questions about fear and identity and our relationship to the natural world. She spins out connections between the natural world and the self that are both important investigations and insightful revelations. Wolfish is a triumph of a debut – cementing Berry as an important new voice"
– Lyz Lenz, author of Belabored and God Land

"Berry's braided approach renders Wolfish both a vulnerable self-investigation and a wide-ranging exploration of fear – and, ultimately, an antidote to it. She makes a stirring case for walking alongside the symbolic wolf"

"Ferocious and beautiful [...] The most powerful theme that runs through Wolfish is human fear, and here Berry's vulnerability and strength is displayed in poignant detail"
Minneapolis Star Tribune

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