Hot Best Seller

Fox & I

Availability: Ready to download

A solitary woman’s inspiring, moving, surprising, and often funny memoir about the transformative power of her unusual friendship with a wild fox, a new window onto the natural world, and the introduction of a remarkable literary talent. Catherine Raven left home at 15, fleeing an abusive father and an indifferent mother. Drawn to the natural world, for years she worked as A solitary woman’s inspiring, moving, surprising, and often funny memoir about the transformative power of her unusual friendship with a wild fox, a new window onto the natural world, and the introduction of a remarkable literary talent. Catherine Raven left home at 15, fleeing an abusive father and an indifferent mother. Drawn to the natural world, for years she worked as a ranger in National Parks, at times living in her run-down car (which lacked a reverse gear), on abandoned construction sites, or camping on a piece of land in Montana she bought from a colleague. She managed to put herself through college and then graduate school, eventually earning a Ph.D. in biology. Yet she never felt at home with people, and though she worked at various universities and taught field classes in the National Parks, she built a house on a remote plot of land in Montana and, except when teaching, spoke to no one. One day, she realized that the fox who had been appearing at her house was coming by every day at 4:15. He became a regular visitor, who eventually sat near her as she read to him from The Little Prince or Dr. Seuss. Her scientific training had taught her not to anthropomorphize animals, but as she grew to know him, his personality revealed itself—and he became her friend. But friends cannot always save each other from the uncontained forces of nature. Though this is a story of survival, it is also a poignant and dramatic tale of living in the wilderness and coping with inevitable loss. This uplifting fable-like true story about the friendship of a woman and a wild fox not only reveals the power of friendship and our interconnectedness with the natural world but is an original, imaginative, and beautiful work that introduces a stunning new voice.


Compare

A solitary woman’s inspiring, moving, surprising, and often funny memoir about the transformative power of her unusual friendship with a wild fox, a new window onto the natural world, and the introduction of a remarkable literary talent. Catherine Raven left home at 15, fleeing an abusive father and an indifferent mother. Drawn to the natural world, for years she worked as A solitary woman’s inspiring, moving, surprising, and often funny memoir about the transformative power of her unusual friendship with a wild fox, a new window onto the natural world, and the introduction of a remarkable literary talent. Catherine Raven left home at 15, fleeing an abusive father and an indifferent mother. Drawn to the natural world, for years she worked as a ranger in National Parks, at times living in her run-down car (which lacked a reverse gear), on abandoned construction sites, or camping on a piece of land in Montana she bought from a colleague. She managed to put herself through college and then graduate school, eventually earning a Ph.D. in biology. Yet she never felt at home with people, and though she worked at various universities and taught field classes in the National Parks, she built a house on a remote plot of land in Montana and, except when teaching, spoke to no one. One day, she realized that the fox who had been appearing at her house was coming by every day at 4:15. He became a regular visitor, who eventually sat near her as she read to him from The Little Prince or Dr. Seuss. Her scientific training had taught her not to anthropomorphize animals, but as she grew to know him, his personality revealed itself—and he became her friend. But friends cannot always save each other from the uncontained forces of nature. Though this is a story of survival, it is also a poignant and dramatic tale of living in the wilderness and coping with inevitable loss. This uplifting fable-like true story about the friendship of a woman and a wild fox not only reveals the power of friendship and our interconnectedness with the natural world but is an original, imaginative, and beautiful work that introduces a stunning new voice.

30 review for Fox & I

  1. 5 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    Solitude and nature. Well, I've spent plenty of time with both in the past 18 months. Feel fortunate that where I live provides access to both. Living alone in a cabin, miles from nowhere, sounds enticing but not sure I could handle it for any length of time. Though like Walden before her, this cabin would become both the authors challenge and refuge. A wonderful memoir, a woman whose strength is admirable, making her own way through life and one that she started at a very young age. Her descript Solitude and nature. Well, I've spent plenty of time with both in the past 18 months. Feel fortunate that where I live provides access to both. Living alone in a cabin, miles from nowhere, sounds enticing but not sure I could handle it for any length of time. Though like Walden before her, this cabin would become both the authors challenge and refuge. A wonderful memoir, a woman whose strength is admirable, making her own way through life and one that she started at a very young age. Her descriptions of fauna and wildlife are breathtaking, she is a keen observer. She also goes into the history of various insights, but it is her relationship with a fox that is the focal point. The fox is young, wild and at times she lets us into what she perceives as the foxes own thoughts, his actions, visuals. She meets with him daily, apart but together, she reads to him for fifteen minutes from The Little Prince. He seems to listen intently. Who can forget a visual such as this? It is also a book about our relationship or lack of one, with the wild that surrounds us. Our lack of care of the beautiful, natural world we have been given. A warning, a chance to open our eyes before it is to late, if it isn't already. Details of her past, her present struggles and where she hopes to go. I also learned much about voles, which though I had heard of moles, had never heard. Quite fearless little things, smart too. I very much enjoyed this book and thank the author for sharing her unique experiences. ARC from Netgalley

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    Have you ever had a close encounter with a fox? I don’t remember any in my childhood, but as an adult, I came face-to-face with one in Denali National Park in Alaska. My next encounter was last summer when a family of foxes temporarily moved under my deck. They had been displaced from somewhere else (which is very, very sad, and is happening all the time these days with urban sprawl) and made a den in the area covered from rain with shade from the summer heat. They were only here for a short tim Have you ever had a close encounter with a fox? I don’t remember any in my childhood, but as an adult, I came face-to-face with one in Denali National Park in Alaska. My next encounter was last summer when a family of foxes temporarily moved under my deck. They had been displaced from somewhere else (which is very, very sad, and is happening all the time these days with urban sprawl) and made a den in the area covered from rain with shade from the summer heat. They were only here for a short time - maybe two weeks? The pups were almost grown, and then they moved on. As I kept my distance, I learned more about foxes last summer than I had in my life. I read everything I could, and it made me even more interested in wildlife preservation. Because of my experience, my interest was piqued in this memoir about a woman’s connection with a fox. She lives on a much bigger piece of land in Montana when this fox becomes part of her life. Catherine Raven is a biologist by training, and she eventually learns the routine of the fox. Each day, he comes by at the same time. The two become friends. I don’t want to give any more away, but this book is an interesting and enlightening take on animal behavior. The writing style grew on me throughout. At times my heart was warmed to its fullest, while at others, it was completely shattered. Fans of The Little Prince will be especially endeared to this story. I received a gifted copy. Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader

  3. 5 out of 5

    Chantal Lyons

    I admit that I didn't get on with this book at first. Raven's writing style is almost bird-like in its quickness and jumpiness, unwilling to pause to let the reader catch up before it moves on. But once I grew used to it, I was utterly hooked. 'Fox and I' is one of the most unusual stories about friendship between a human and a nonhuman that I've read. It is uncompromising and almost subversive. It is also stunningly beautiful, in both prose and content. It's mostly about the author's growing bon I admit that I didn't get on with this book at first. Raven's writing style is almost bird-like in its quickness and jumpiness, unwilling to pause to let the reader catch up before it moves on. But once I grew used to it, I was utterly hooked. 'Fox and I' is one of the most unusual stories about friendship between a human and a nonhuman that I've read. It is uncompromising and almost subversive. It is also stunningly beautiful, in both prose and content. It's mostly about the author's growing bond with a fox, yes, though it's also a love letter to places of wildness, to being a person standing outside watching a sunset, to the myriad relationships between different animals and plants. The author is a biologist by training, although 'Fox and I' is by no means a pop science book. Raven spends much more time thinking over the ways humans throw up mental barriers against nonhumans, and the ways we can be cruel towards them. Black-and-white animal lovers may be upset to read about the author hunting deer, but she makes clear that she only wants to eat animals she's hunted herself; and she writes movingly about a young wild deer she tried to keep comfortable after finding it maimed by someone's dog. The book is, of course, still mostly about the fox that befriends Raven. It's hard not to read with a sense of disbelief; how could a wild fox choose, on a daily basis, to sit near a human, to follow them, and to allow themselves to be followed? And even to guard its kits? The author provides a more or less convincing theory, drawing on evidence from the silver fox domestication project from Russia. I hope that anyone studying animal behaviour finds this book. The fox called Fox was clearly a fascinating, wonderful individual, whose interactions with Raven demand explanation beyond "instinct". Once more I have been reminded of the astonishing complexity of life, and the beauty of different creatures discovering each other, and being compassionate to each other. So: I started 'Fox and I' with a frown, but by the end, my heart felt a little bit broken. And the photo at the end of Fox with his favourite flower undid me. (With thanks to Spiegel & Grau and NetGalley for this ebook in exchange for an honest review)

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ingrid

    Very interesting but halfway through I got so fed up with looking up translations of species that it spoiled the fun for me. I found the audio book in Dutch and it went on much better from there.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Marianne

    4.5★s “Those of us who have barnacled ourselves to inhospitable places may be trying to avoid people not because we do not like people, but because we love the things that people destroyed. Wild things. Horizons. Trolls.” Fox and I is a memoir by American teacher and writer, Catherine Raven. After an unsupportive upbringing, the author manages to attain a PhD in Biology, lives in an off-grid mountain cottage in Montana and teaches remotely. She might be considered reclusive: “Just as I’ve always b 4.5★s “Those of us who have barnacled ourselves to inhospitable places may be trying to avoid people not because we do not like people, but because we love the things that people destroyed. Wild things. Horizons. Trolls.” Fox and I is a memoir by American teacher and writer, Catherine Raven. After an unsupportive upbringing, the author manages to attain a PhD in Biology, lives in an off-grid mountain cottage in Montana and teaches remotely. She might be considered reclusive: “Just as I’ve always been alone, I’ve never felt lonely. But I did want to fit in somewhere and belong to something. I tried lashing myself to the land, but it wasn’t reciprocating. Land, I discovered, does not behave like a pet, offering unconditional love just because you own it. I thought I was buying space and rocks and dirt and a creek, and instead I ended up with a community of animals who wanted me to work for my welcome.” The fox who visits daily, and eventually becomes her friend, appears in some of her slides for her students on their Yellowstone Park field trips, and immediately provokes questions. Raven recalls associates during her ranger work warning her not to anthropomorphise. She feels curious and wonders “Was I imagining Fox’s personality?” She decides to map the relationship, to be able to explain it, should there be further questions. She goes back to before their paths first crossed, and tells of “The Great Vole Debacle”, which becomes an illustration of how small actions (clearing land and building a house, feeding egg yolks to magpies, collecting seeds, chasing off dogs and feral cats) can ultimately have unpredictable consequences. “Owning land is a big responsibility. Every step taken, path set, weed pulled, and tree planted fosters a hundred million or so consequences. A great land baron, Nature’s tenant in chief, must justify her actions and their consequences.” Raven meanders through the story of her initial encounters with Fox, often with lengthy digressions to illustrate a point, describing how she would sit and read to him, games they played and activities they pursued. She recounts those occasions when she returned from time away to no Fox, convinced that he had met with an unexpected end. Occasionally, Raven swaps the narrative to Fox’s perspective, giving him a personality without the “sin” of anthropomorphising. Tennis Ball, the magpie, also gets a voice. Raven credits the friendship with allowing her to understand what truly matters in her life: “Like a forest, my life had progressed through several stages and was reaching the climax phase. I knew my relationship with Fox was more important than anything else in my life, and I could see that my purpose would be to tell his story. And purpose, I now knew, was more important than profession.” Raven’s memoir is a feast of wildlife and botanical description that will appeal especially to those who love or appreciate American flora and fauna. This is a moving, thought-provoking and illuminating read. This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Spiegel & Grau.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Violet

    Where do I start with this memoir? I should preface my review with this disclaimer: I read books that have deal with animal/human relationships under a vegan lens. So, when I read the book jacket and saw things like “she began reading to [Fox] from The Little Prince and “her scientific training taught her not to anthropomorphize animals” I was hopeful that Raven felt compassion towards all animals based on her use of delegating actual pronouns to other living, sentient beings + thinking deeply a Where do I start with this memoir? I should preface my review with this disclaimer: I read books that have deal with animal/human relationships under a vegan lens. So, when I read the book jacket and saw things like “she began reading to [Fox] from The Little Prince and “her scientific training taught her not to anthropomorphize animals” I was hopeful that Raven felt compassion towards all animals based on her use of delegating actual pronouns to other living, sentient beings + thinking deeply about her influence on wild animals. Additionally, a memoir that promises a solitary lifestyle intermeshed with the natural world was too delicious for my nature-loving, introverted soul to pass up. What follows is my review (if you care about animal rights) is why this author’s moral compass is broken, why I was (mostly) wrong, and why this sort of hypocrisy matters. I won’t say Raven didn’t have a profound relationship (in her mind) with Fox—nor will I say that he didn’t teach her amazing and beautiful things about life, but the author's fluctuation between the animals she cares for and their rights to pronouns vs. the animals she hunts and eats for dinner and calls “it” was a little bit too much for me to stomach. Her goal to not anthropomorphize Fox is disguised behind her notion of them becoming "best friends". She tries to hide this from her peers and associates, saying Fox is just a research experiment or photo-op, explaining it away as some foxes having the ‘tame’ gene that has evolved due to some species being fed by humans—she should’ve just left it as her desire to show compassion towards another sentient creature instead of having to make up one huge, elaborate narrative on why Fox deserves serves as such a favorable delineation/exception from the rest of the animal kingdom. “…if you shy from social interaction and tense up, leaving one leg slightly raised while people are trying to converse with you at the grocery store, then entertaining a guest day after day leaves you dusted. If your guest is an impatient fox who walks away when the wares you’re displaying get boring, you need to rev up your repertoire. This is especially tedious if you are pathologically private. I hesitated to talk to the fox not because we were different species, or because he was mute, but because I didn’t talk about myself with anyone.” This speciesist behavior shows up in other places. When talking about a week-long rescue mission to save an injured fawn, Raven feigns indifference to save face and look tough in front of her friends. She remembers back to her time spent as a ranger in Mount Rainier and writes “…we watched wildlife suffer and die and turned our short jaws this way and that. ‘Nature is cruel,” we said, and then we pretended that bearing the burden of this knowledge toughened up our flaccid souls.” Raven knows this is not an excuse, but still argues the point: They wondered if I was one of those people—those people—who bragged about not being able to kill spiders.” And then: “I was telling the students that every time the Panther Creek fawn had gazed up at me, she was pleading for compassion. The last time I saw her, she was lying dead with open eyes and I felt a gut-hollowing sadness. The bus hit a gigantic pothole, and I had trouble holding on with only one hand free. ‘I kill spiders,’ I said just before the momentum forced me to turn and, like the sign above the driver’s head said to do, ‘face front.’” Raven turns away from her benevolence, her compassionate nature to save-face, and “face front”—something that seems very symbolic of turning away from what she believes in due to social pressure. This is something that stops a lot of people from living a vegan lifestyle because going against popular opinion isn’t easy. In Raven’s case, her social anxiety, and her fear of being in the spotlight likely adds to the heightened criticism the anxiety that comes along with standing out. But why let that be a reason to turn against your own moral compass? Innocent creatures shouldn’t have to suffer as a result of our shortcomings. Why fight harm with more harm? Veganism is addressed via Ishmael aboard the Pequod, a Nantucket whaling ship that appears in the 1851 novel Moby-Dick by Herman Melville. He asks: “Is it moral to eat animals?” “it is immoral to eat four-legged animals.” Although Ishmael's story is a source of inspiration for Raven, she proceeds to ramble on with excuses about why she’s not vegan. Honestly, this woman deserves a gold medal for her determination to not lift the veil from her eyes, but it’s certainly not for a lack of creativity or intellectual understanding but taste pleasure. “When I am an old lady, maybe I will think about Ishmael and stop eating meat. Until then, someone needs to kill the animals that provide my meat, so it might as well be me.” My problem with this is that Raven goes to great lengths to describe how and why we draw minute distinctions between individuals and why, when it comes to nonhuman animals, we generalize them as objects for our taste pleasure and commodification since they tend to look, sound, and act alike to us at face value. And what she says sums up the problem with this—in fact, I could not have said it better myself: “I’ve a notion it’s because we think we’re evolutionary advanced and more intelligent than they are. Arrogance dissolves empathy.” What?! How can you come to a conclusion like this and continue to murder animals? She mentions grocery store trips and her mailman more than once throughout so it’s not like she has to eat meat to survive. If she wanted to be vegan—especially with how resourceful she brags to be throughout the entire memoir, I have no doubt that Raven could make it happen if she really wanted to. “Despite [these] differences, [Fox and I] both worshipped the heat of the sun and the light of the moon. You will never convince me you need more than that to forge a friendship.” An interesting point, to Raven’s credit, is how she talks about pets vs. wild animals and the hypocrisy we see in these human + nonhuman relationships. (view spoiler)[When the wildfire rages close to Raven’s home and the surrounding area, she expresses her disdain for how the firefighters express their feigned sort of sympathy for Fox. She describes how the firemen express their condolences. How when she turns around to gauge their reactions/emotions “[the firefighter] shrugged and shook his head as if to say, It’s a fire. Animals die…he would have been right if he said, “It’s a fire. Wild animals die…If I had owned Fox, if I had licensed, collared, tagged, or leased him, then firefighters would have tried to save him. But if I owned him, how could I have called him my friend?” (hide spoiler)] This is not totally dissimilar from the argument vegans make for pets (dogs vs. pigs) and the question of why we murder one and keep the other as a pet simply based upon looks and personal bias. When Fox (view spoiler)[dies in the fire, Raven sums up the whole point behind veganism which comes down to every animal’s right and desire to live their life. There is no humane way to kill an animal that doesn’t want to die, and Raven understands this perfectly! I had lost a friend; he had lost his life. He died too young, too happy, too ambitious. How could I wallow in a shallow pool of misery when his misery was infinite? Regardless of where Fox ended up when he died, he would rather be here…he would want to be alive. I want that, too, but I won’t be so patronizing as to pretend that I want it more than he does. (hide spoiler)] One of the important figures in literature Raven references besides Ishmael and The Little Prince is Victor Frankenstein. She essentially compares herself to him, relating to his great appreciation of nature, his lack of efficient encouragement growing up, and his isolation. I think Raven was trying to say human beings, weighed down by petty concerns and countless flaws pale in comparison to nature's perfection. They suffer and try to pioneer new ways to think and thrive without their environment to the point of becoming an outsider to one’s native environment or moral philosophies. In the novel Frankenstein, Mary Shelley shows us how dangerous it is to become obsessed power and glory. Like Victor is too caught up in his research to actually belong to his environment or family, Raven cannot see beyond her biases of Fox to realize how much she is also isolating herself from the world and compassion towards other creatures. At first, Fox blinds Raven of her own intentions (view spoiler)[until Fox dies and Raven feels comfortable to reincorporate herself back into the sort of life she has been waiting to live. (hide spoiler)] Learn from me, if not by my precepts, at least by my example, how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow. —Frankenstein I didn’t completely hate this book. Overall, the prose was unique and creative. Raven's passion for the outdoors and the national parks she worked in was lovely to read about and I enjoyed all the descriptions of Fox. Beneath all the bias and speciesism, I saw a human on the right track to living in alignment with their morals, but not quite making the mark. At times, it almost felt like Raven wrote this memoir just to justify her relationship with Fox—perhaps out of guilt or regret the way things went down which is why the writing felt uncomfortable at some points and pretentious/meandering at others. tl;dr Animals need advocates, not apologists. Raven needs to read The Little Prince a few more times to understand the message inside of it: one sees clearly with the heart. Every animal life is unique—not just those we assign value to.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    From the publisher’s description, I was really looking forward to reading Fox and I. I’ve been a sucker for stories about individuals bonding with wild creatures since I read The Yearling in 7th grade and sobbed my eyes out. Unfortunately I did not connect with this story in the same way. Catherine Raven tells us over and over again two things about herself. She is a rugged individualist and she has a PhD. She is so intent on being different and smart that the beautiful story of this unique frie From the publisher’s description, I was really looking forward to reading Fox and I. I’ve been a sucker for stories about individuals bonding with wild creatures since I read The Yearling in 7th grade and sobbed my eyes out. Unfortunately I did not connect with this story in the same way. Catherine Raven tells us over and over again two things about herself. She is a rugged individualist and she has a PhD. She is so intent on being different and smart that the beautiful story of this unique friendship gets lost in the dense paragraphs she constructs. Her frequent references to Ishmael and Moby Dick reminded me I didn’t relate to that book either. I wish she had tried a little less to impress us with her writing skill and just let the story flow simply from her heart. I’m afraid her style became a way to keep the reader at a distance when she would have been much better served to let down her guard and let the beauty of her connection with this remarkable creature speak for itself.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Scribe Publications

    Fox and I will make you feel deeply about our relationship with animals and nature. After you read this book you will experience animals in a new and marvellous way. Temple Grandin, author of Animals Make Us Human A wise and intimate book about a solitary woman, a biologist by training, who befriends a fox. More than that, it’s the tale of a human mind trained to be logical meeting and being touched by Nature and coming to realise a greater truth. If Thoreau had read The Little Prince, he would ha Fox and I will make you feel deeply about our relationship with animals and nature. After you read this book you will experience animals in a new and marvellous way. Temple Grandin, author of Animals Make Us Human A wise and intimate book about a solitary woman, a biologist by training, who befriends a fox. More than that, it’s the tale of a human mind trained to be logical meeting and being touched by Nature and coming to realise a greater truth. If Thoreau had read The Little Prince, he would have written this book. Yann Martel, author of Life of Pi This intimate and poetic account of a biologist’s friendship with a fox overturns the assumption that the world exists for humans to dominate and control. By paying ecstatic attention to grasses, insects, birds and animals, Catherine Raven allows us to hear what nature is saying to us. Fox and I is essential reading for anyone concerned about the catastrophe human beings are inflicting on the environment from which they and all other creatures sprang. Stephen Batchelor, author of The Art of Solitude Fox and I is a mesmerising, beautifully written, and entirely unsentimental book about the connection amongst all things: the author and her fox friend, but also magpies, brown dogs, fawns, voles, and junipers. I learned as much about the meaning of friendship from this book as I have from any work of nonfiction that I’ve ever read. Will Schwalbe, author of The End of Your Life Book Club In this tale of wilderness, in the tradition of Thoreau and Steinbeck, Catherine Raven has achieved something unique in the literature of nature writing—genuine love for the wild within the rigour of scientific observation. The voice of this storyteller is startlingly original. I read it breathlessly. Andrei Codrescu So original and daring and delightful and weird (in the best sense), both on the level of the idea and the level of language … [A] really terrific piece of writing. Amanda Fortini (Judge for the Montana Festival of the Book) Both beautiful and moving, as well as philosophically stimulating regarding the approach to anthropomorphism. I have never read this discourse so well explored before. Normally anthropomorphism is used as a criticism and here it is also played as a defence against reductionist science seeking to `other’ creatures from the fellowship of feelings for emotional intelligence. A Thoreau for the new Green Enlightenment.’ Sir Tim Smit, co-founder of The Eden Project Entrancing … Raven’s gorgeous account of her bond with a fox while living in a remote cabin will open readers’ eyes to the ways humans connect to the natural world and vice versa … If there’s one book you pick up this summer, make it this one.’ Bethanne Patrick, Washington Post Mysterious and magical … At a time when various challenges threaten animal life around the globe, people seem more interested in gleaning insights from other species while they can … Fox and I explores whether true friendship is possible between people and creatures of the wild. Wall Street Journal Raven’s extraordinary memoir is a love song to the animal who miraculously arrives in the front yard of her remote cabin every afternoon to be read passages from The Little Prince. A poetic, revelatory portrait of a biologist’s solitary sojourn. Oprah Daily [A] thoughtful, measured, literary meditation, as told through biologist Catherine Raven's observations as she studies and interacts with a fox in her backyard, even reading him books out loud. Her reflections shine a spotlight on the path out of loneliness, reminding us all that nature itself will ensure none of us are ever truly alone. Zibby Owens, Good Morning America Fox and I is a beautiful meditation on life and our connection to animals and the natural world. I have counted many dogs as close friends. I have not, however, had the pleasure of connecting with a wild animal the way Catherine Raven does in this remarkable memoir about her life with Fox. Fans of H is for Hawk who have been waiting for the next stunning animal memoir, have found it in Fox and I. Pamela Klinger-Horn, The Valley Bookseller Fox and I is soul-food literature, something to be savoured and then shared. It is a meditative joy and should be snapped up by anyone looking to soften their world; if just for a short time. Mary O’Malley, Skylark Bookshop Raven asks so many interesting questions about our connections with nature and animals and, despite her goal to keep to the science and not romanticise, the heart and soul [this] book, ironically perhaps, is our deep connectedness with animals and the natural world and what that says about us as people. Susan O’Connor, Penguin Bookshop Catherine Raven reads The Little Prince to Fox every day. Fox listens while playing with a flower. Is this the definition of friendship? Read this engaging book and find out. If you loved H is for Hawk, this is for you.M/i> Books on the Square This debut is beautiful and moving. [Raven’s] relationship to Fox, the natural world, and civilisation will give every reader much to think about. I love that she tells part of the story from Fox’s perspective; her writing sings in every chapter, but the sheer imagination and empathy of those sections blew me away. I also loved how Raven’s descriptions of how it resonates with her fits so perfectly with her writing about favourite books (The Little Prince, Moby-Dick, and Horton Hears a Who). Although this book is unlike anything else I've read before, it gave me some of the frissons of recognition and awe that I got from reading the works of Farley Mowat and Azar Nafisi — Mowat for his personal observations and love of wild things and Nafisi for her interpretations of literature. This is one of my favourite books in a long time — one I will treasure for myself and give to others. Tegan Tigani, Queen Anne’s Book Company Mesmerising, charming, showing the true meaning of friendship … The author, Catherine Raven left home at the age of fifteen and had always been drawn to nature. Working her way through college as a ranger in National Parks, she finally finished her PhD in biology, built a tiny cottage that included her own rainbow room, and taught remotely. But something was missing. She needed someone to talk to. Then one day she noticed a fox that kept coming around at 4:15. He was there along with the annoying magpie and the voles he had tried to relocate … She read Dr. Seuss and The Little Prince to him. She knew as a park ranger that she shouldn’t become personally involved with a wild animal, but no matter how hard they each tried, the forces of nature built their bond of friendship … The author is extremely knowledgeable and shares how one can experience animals and nature in a new and sensitive way. You will also learn a lot about our environment as well. Mollie Mitchell, HearthFire Books What a remarkable and unusual memoir whereby the author, a biologist and naturalist, notices on her remote property out west a particularly curious fox. She returns the curiosity and what ensues is a kind of relationship that seems to provide both of them with comfort and connection. As the fox makes regular visits, Catherine Raven notices how much this means to her, eventually leading her to make other changes in her life to invite a deeper sense of belonging to a larger community than she previously imagined for herself. Fox and I is a most rewarding and vivid read. Sheryl Cotleur, Copperfield’s Books Catherine Raven may not be drawn much to people, preferring to spend her time instead immersed in nature, but it is impossible not to be drawn to Catherine. She is not just a keen observer of non-human life, rooted and mobile, but also one heck of a good storyteller about her Montana floral and faunal neighbours. She does not anthropomorphise her subjects — a charge to which she is highly sensitive, especially when it comes to the red fox at the heart of this book — but she does leave us with a keen appreciation for the complex interrelations within and across species. Community Bookstore I loved this story about a woman in the wilderness befriending a fox, reading him The Little Prince. She is a natural scientist, so you feel like you are one with the land and the animals who inhabit it. She is a loner, unafraid to shoot and skin the elk, yet one who also feeds the magpies and fox egg yolks in their shells. It's not quaint, but a real story about what nature can bring to us if we just take the time to care and to look. Bank Square Books It turns out foxes, in particular this Fox, has outwitted Nature and has a personality after all. In this enchanting fable-like reminiscence, a scientist, living alone by choice, and a fox come together. The rhythmic and poetic descriptions of the environs and wildlife make this a story you can escape into. Vermont Book Shop A tender, shrewd exploration of the redemption that comes when we start to know that we, whoever and wherever we are, are wild things, crucially defined by our relationship with the wild. Charles Foster, author of Being a Beast and Being a Human This is something altogether different from the latest 'went into the wild to find myself' offering. Raven’s is a memoir unspooled in nature, a first-person account from an unusually observant point of view … Augmenting Raven’s vibrant observations of flora and fauna is her deliberation as a person, scientist, writer. Fox and I balances the fluency of her writing with the pauses she offers Fox — and us. Redemption by way of solitude is offset by the darkness that lurks and lingers. This is the tension upon which the book rides and rests ... Her understanding of mortality prowls page to page … Raven has written a book about reading to a fox that I want to read to anyone or anything that cares to listen. Would that I could read it to Ghost and the fox the next time they meet up. William Deverell, Alta [A] testament for the meaning and beauty in the small and seemingly insignificant moments in life … written in a lush, elegant style … a book that is taking seriously the idea that wild animals have emotions and desires similar to humans and therefore shouldn’t be treated as either hostile enemies to be killed or stupid creatures to be pitied … showcases real communication and friendship between different species … Right up to the tragic yet hopeful ending, this book is irresistible reading. Lovers of nature will appreciate Raven’s thoughtful writing about the place of humans in the natural world; Lovers of stories will be entranced by the rendering of friendship, and its strange power to change lives. Poignant and thought-provoking, Fox and I will have you re-evaluating your relationship to your local environment and the non-human animals that share it with you. Connor Carrns, Open Letters Review [A] multi-layered exploration of a world in which humans honour rather than dominate nature … Fox and I takes us out of a relentless focus on the human-built world in ways that invite compassion for nature … That complexity emerges compellingly in the narrative as Fox matures, fathers kits, and expresses his caring for Raven's friendship more and more directly …Fox's exuberance for life left his emotional mark on me, too. Barbara J. King, NPR [S]mart and tender … the deftness of her observations erases any suggestion that her connection to Fox is invented or saccharine. It blooms, like any other friendship, from proximity, personality, attention and time … Allowing every animal on the page its full agency, Fox and I crisply upends the hierarchy that places humans at the top of a pyramid. For some readers, this reanimation of wild animals may be painful, a reminder that the ecological destruction we’re collectively perpetrating falls upon conscious, aware beings, who are now tasked with surviving transformed habitats and extreme conditions … By the end of Fox and I, I found myself deeply lonely for the kind of belonging Raven found on the land. How did we end up so distant from our animal friends? Katherine E. Standefer, The New York Times Book Review On the surface, this is a story about a woman befriending a fox, which is in and of itself remarkable enough, but it is also a powerful meditation on nature, living in the world with and without people, as well as the power of literature. Cody Morrison, Square Books

  9. 5 out of 5

    MandM

    With a Phd in Biology and working in a National Park the author is taught not to anthropomorphize animals. But what happens when a fox regularly visit is you at 4:15 every day? You read to him! True Story!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jülie ☼♄ 

    Love this 🤗 Thanks to Marianne for recommending this to me. *For those readers who are not familiar with The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, you might like to read it first. It is a long time top shelf favourite of mine and I found Fox & I enhanced by my knowledge of that beautiful story. Love this 🤗 Thanks to Marianne for recommending this to me. *For those readers who are not familiar with The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, you might like to read it first. It is a long time top shelf favourite of mine and I found Fox & I enhanced by my knowledge of that beautiful story.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Pallavi

    ****3.0**** Catherine Raven's "Fox & I" gives us a view on a life where a person feels home amidst the wild animals. Her relationship with a Fox was the highlight of the book which is enjoyable. But other things described in the book was a bit uneven and felt disjointed which was too bad. I was struggling to continue and I missed a smooth flow of a story telling. Catherine Raven definitely knows a lot about nature, animals etc but her writings lack the story telling . There were several descriptio ****3.0**** Catherine Raven's "Fox & I" gives us a view on a life where a person feels home amidst the wild animals. Her relationship with a Fox was the highlight of the book which is enjoyable. But other things described in the book was a bit uneven and felt disjointed which was too bad. I was struggling to continue and I missed a smooth flow of a story telling. Catherine Raven definitely knows a lot about nature, animals etc but her writings lack the story telling . There were several description about nature which were really poetic and too hard to forget. This was an "ok-ish" read for me. I have red enough nature related books that I felt this one was a bit off or not my usual type. Happy Reading!!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Unfortunately, I'm putting this in the DNF pile. I tried. I made it 55 pages in but it was not holding my attention at all. Every 5 pages of ridiculously detailed description of some species, I would come across a sentence or two that would cause me to have hope but then the author just went back to rambling again. I wanted to read and feel something meaningful but instead I just felt frustration and boredom. Unfortunately, I'm putting this in the DNF pile. I tried. I made it 55 pages in but it was not holding my attention at all. Every 5 pages of ridiculously detailed description of some species, I would come across a sentence or two that would cause me to have hope but then the author just went back to rambling again. I wanted to read and feel something meaningful but instead I just felt frustration and boredom.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Clay

    A wonder-filled, bittersweet, nature-rich book about the friendship between a fox and the biologist-author. Having been graced with a similar friendship with a wild creature, which I fictionalized in Wild Things, I highly recommend.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Toni

    This book was uneven for me. I enjoyed Catherine Raven’s explicit sharing, her descriptions of the nature surrounding her and her exploration of friendship and how it helped her grow. The way the story unfolds though, meanders from moments that have my full attention to moments where I’m wondering why she didn’t leave some things out or structure things in a different way. Raven spends the bulk of Fox and I concerned that her relationship with a wild fox will jeopardize her professional reputatio This book was uneven for me. I enjoyed Catherine Raven’s explicit sharing, her descriptions of the nature surrounding her and her exploration of friendship and how it helped her grow. The way the story unfolds though, meanders from moments that have my full attention to moments where I’m wondering why she didn’t leave some things out or structure things in a different way. Raven spends the bulk of Fox and I concerned that her relationship with a wild fox will jeopardize her professional reputation and credibility. She worries repeatedly about being guilty of, or being perceived as practicing anthropomorphism, something that is apparently an especially bad look for an aspiring biologist in academia. As I was reading though, I found myself wondering if that, in fact, was what she should be worrying about. It didn’t seem to me that she was ascribing human traits to her wild neighbors, so much as she was projecting her own biases and reactions onto them. In other words, if she were to reverse roles and were in their paws and claws, this is how she would feel and how she’d be reacting. She’d feel fear or curiosity or anger or resentment. Of course, she has no way of knowing that they could feel any of this, not just because we simply don’t know that much about the possible inner dialogues of any species other than ourselves. She doesn’t actually know any of the lead up before their interaction that provides the type of context she’d need to have any idea what the might or might not be feeling and experiencing. Which, honestly, isn’t that what we do to people too? We are obviously not anthropomorphizing people that are already human, but we sure do project a lot in a way that often leads to misunderstandings and potentially gets us into trouble. ‘Oh so and so hates me, and is doing x because of y.’ ‘Oh, I know what that look means, they must really feel this way about x.’ The reality is, while sometimes we have enough information to correctly judge other people’s responses and probable thoughts and feelings, often we are way off base. We just don’t have enough of the facts even with our own special knowledge of and familiarity with being human. Raven seems to be particularly challenged in judging the reactions of other humans. So much so, that at times, I wonder if she’s an unreliable narrator. It doesn’t seem surprising at all then, that she feels more comfortable practicing her communication and empathy skills of the non-human life around her first. The stakes, after all, are more forgiving, and the results certainly more open to interpretation. No one who has spent time around animals, whether they be pets or wildlife can hardly dispute that they have unique traits, personalities and qualities that distinguish them amongst their own kind. To acknowledge that is hardly anthropomorphizing. As a fellow appreciator of the regulars in the wildlife that shares my habitat, for me, her descriptions of those interactions are the most enjoyable parts of the book. (Although they are also some of the more tedious when it feels like an editor might have been able to rein her in a bit. While Raven’s relationship with her wild community takes this a bit further than most people do, she still doesn’t seem to me to be guilty of anthropomorphizing exactly. If that’s what she were doing, I think that the characters wouldn’t fit so neatly into a narrative that fits in with her own. It feels to me more like Raven has shaped the world around her into an elaborate way to talk to herself.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nursebookie

    The Fox and I is an exquisite memoir about a friendship formed between a lonely and isolated woman and a fox. In this beautiful and poetic account of their chance meeting and their daily encounters, I was transported right there in the midst of the wilderness with other creatures as magpies and voles among others. I loved every word of the writing and how it incorporated The Little Prince and Ishmael from Moby Dick in this absolute delight of nature writing at its best. I felt a bit more connecte The Fox and I is an exquisite memoir about a friendship formed between a lonely and isolated woman and a fox. In this beautiful and poetic account of their chance meeting and their daily encounters, I was transported right there in the midst of the wilderness with other creatures as magpies and voles among others. I loved every word of the writing and how it incorporated The Little Prince and Ishmael from Moby Dick in this absolute delight of nature writing at its best. I felt a bit more connected with nature, giving fresh eyes to our relationship with every creature no matter how small.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen Gray

    Know that this isn't all about the fox, who by the way, is actually given a voice in sections of this unusual memoir. Raven pushed past her childhood, completed a Phd, and found work and life as ranger in a national park in Montana. And then she was found by the fox, which visited her every day at 1615. Much of the book focuses on floral and fauna but it also takes dives elsewhere. I suspect this might be a love it or hate it book, in part because it might be different than readers expect and in Know that this isn't all about the fox, who by the way, is actually given a voice in sections of this unusual memoir. Raven pushed past her childhood, completed a Phd, and found work and life as ranger in a national park in Montana. And then she was found by the fox, which visited her every day at 1615. Much of the book focuses on floral and fauna but it also takes dives elsewhere. I suspect this might be a love it or hate it book, in part because it might be different than readers expect and in part due to the writing. That said, I found it educational and thoughtful. Thanks to Edelweiss for the ARC. Recommend for those who enjoy writing about nature.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Catherine Ryan left an abusive home at fifteen and has been on her own ever since. She worked as a National Park Ranger, eventually earned her PhD in biology, but then asked herself, what’s next? She decided to build a cabin in the wilds of Montana, support herself by teaching classes at Yellowstone and continue her solitary life. One day she realizes a mangy fox is appearing everyday at 4:15 and what does she do? She begins reading LITTLE PRINCE to Fox. This memoir about a friendship between a Catherine Ryan left an abusive home at fifteen and has been on her own ever since. She worked as a National Park Ranger, eventually earned her PhD in biology, but then asked herself, what’s next? She decided to build a cabin in the wilds of Montana, support herself by teaching classes at Yellowstone and continue her solitary life. One day she realizes a mangy fox is appearing everyday at 4:15 and what does she do? She begins reading LITTLE PRINCE to Fox. This memoir about a friendship between a woman and a fox is one that will leave you thinking about the deep relationship we have with animals and nature. Both the woman and the fox benefit from the friendship, but the woman gains the most. Her best friend helps her to open up to people and to make some changes in her life for the better. I loved the rich description of all of the aspects of nature surrounding the solitary cabin. I could see the huge trees, hear the birds (especially the magpies) and feel the prickly weeds. I especially loved Fox’s thoughts as he observes the woman cleaning out a patch of forest. He’s entertained by her ”hurricane hands…as she swings long metal objects and shouts at the air.” I’m always wondering what my dog is thinking as she observes me tackling my latest project. Now I have a better idea. This is truly a book nature lovers won’t want to miss. It’s out July 6.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    ARC from NetGalley and Spiegel and Grau – available 6 July Lately I’ve been making bad NetGalley selections, and it really is a shame because the books that catch my eye sound so good! I choose this one as I love foxes, it has a beautiful cover and it sounded intriguing – simply put, it’s the true story of a lonely woman who befriends a fox. Unfortunately, I found it incredibly boring and pushed myself to finish it. The author, as a woman in science, doesn’t believe in anthropomorphising animals an ARC from NetGalley and Spiegel and Grau – available 6 July Lately I’ve been making bad NetGalley selections, and it really is a shame because the books that catch my eye sound so good! I choose this one as I love foxes, it has a beautiful cover and it sounded intriguing – simply put, it’s the true story of a lonely woman who befriends a fox. Unfortunately, I found it incredibly boring and pushed myself to finish it. The author, as a woman in science, doesn’t believe in anthropomorphising animals and when she finds herself doing so with the fox and becoming ‘best friends’ with him, she at first tries to hide it, then makes excuses for it – arguing at one point that foxes with the ‘tame’ gene have evolved by being fed by humans. She seems to try to be rationalising her behaviour when I would argue that she was simply being human. As I said, I didn’t find the book interesting. Most of the book is not about the fox but rather other wildlife and the author’s observations – including parallels with the writings of Herman Melville, Mary Shelley and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. I found the writing quite confusing in places too and phrases such as ‘half a fortnight’ baffling. It’s a week. If I wasn’t already not enjoying the book, I was turned off completely when the author described herself as never having had ‘a gender-appropriate job’. What exactly is one of those? Perhaps a poor choice of words but not a choice that went down well with this reader. I’m sure there’s an audience for this book, perhaps zoologists or nature enthusiasts, but not casual fox lovers like me. Thank you NetGalley for the opportunity to read this.

  19. 4 out of 5

    James Vitarius

    Great topic, interesting treatise on human interaction with nature. However, Ms. Raven’s conceited tone is a major impediment. Also, about 27,000 words too long.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Cori

    I found Catherine Raven’s story enchanting and fascinating. Her writing about her daily observations and thoughts highlight both her knowledge and unique personality. She is clearly more comfortable around plants and animals than other people, but she is also striving to find the little niches in the world where she feels at home. Her transformation is a joy to follow along with as she reconciles her scientific training with what she learns of the personality and life of Fox through her field ob I found Catherine Raven’s story enchanting and fascinating. Her writing about her daily observations and thoughts highlight both her knowledge and unique personality. She is clearly more comfortable around plants and animals than other people, but she is also striving to find the little niches in the world where she feels at home. Her transformation is a joy to follow along with as she reconciles her scientific training with what she learns of the personality and life of Fox through her field observations and interactions with him. It is the perfect combination of nature writing and memoir that I am always wanting to find. It illustrates the many ways we can find connection and belonging in a complicated world.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Roark

    Do the rules of grammar no longer have meaning?

  22. 4 out of 5

    Pam

    The story is about the woman (author) and Fox—not THE fox or Foxxie. Catherine Raven is one of the voices here. She tells her story to explain her friendship with fox. This friendship is something that she, as a trained scientist, is strongly encouraged to avoid. Fox also has a narrative voice in the story. Raven’s solitary and different nature, whether caused by a non-nurturing upbringing or genetics or both causes her to lack friends. Fox seeks her out. His nature as a wild fox is also differen The story is about the woman (author) and Fox—not THE fox or Foxxie. Catherine Raven is one of the voices here. She tells her story to explain her friendship with fox. This friendship is something that she, as a trained scientist, is strongly encouraged to avoid. Fox also has a narrative voice in the story. Raven’s solitary and different nature, whether caused by a non-nurturing upbringing or genetics or both causes her to lack friends. Fox seeks her out. His nature as a wild fox is also different. He lacks fear and has the curiosity to approach the woman. They spend regular time together over a period of about two years. She learns about friendship from him. I really enjoyed this book and learned a lot. She must be a wonderful teacher. Great type of summary too. Painless learning.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Shelley Adams

    I listened to the audio version of this book and was captivated from the start. To be sure, the premise seems absurd; how in the world could a book be worthwhile reading about such an odd thing as a woman’s encounter with a fox? In short, it is because this book is about so much more than the woman or the fox or the two interacting. It is filled with descriptions and observations about the rugged and isolated lands of Montana, the myriad of creatures striving to make their homes there, the weath I listened to the audio version of this book and was captivated from the start. To be sure, the premise seems absurd; how in the world could a book be worthwhile reading about such an odd thing as a woman’s encounter with a fox? In short, it is because this book is about so much more than the woman or the fox or the two interacting. It is filled with descriptions and observations about the rugged and isolated lands of Montana, the myriad of creatures striving to make their homes there, the weather and other elements that make survival a full time endeavor for one and all and the multiple ways that each creature interacts with all the others and nature itself. In short, this was fascinating and funny and memorable and a delight to read. The author courageously reveals her own struggles with a harsh childhood, navigating the world of academia, contending with solitude, and battling the elements as a woman on her own in a land that tests her will and strength on a daily basis. Highly recommend this one!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    When I had a summer job at a dude ranch I had an encounter with a fox, we sat together less than 15’ apart for almost an hour. It was a very magical interlude in my summer of housekeeping. I feel strongly that my fox might have been like Raven’s fox had I the time to spend with him. At times reading Fox and I is difficult, Raven writes her own rhythms which are out of sync with those of us who are so entrenched in the world. I beg you to stay with her, she knows truths that we have forgotten. Th When I had a summer job at a dude ranch I had an encounter with a fox, we sat together less than 15’ apart for almost an hour. It was a very magical interlude in my summer of housekeeping. I feel strongly that my fox might have been like Raven’s fox had I the time to spend with him. At times reading Fox and I is difficult, Raven writes her own rhythms which are out of sync with those of us who are so entrenched in the world. I beg you to stay with her, she knows truths that we have forgotten. The friendship with fox teaches Raven that being a verb is more important than being a noun.

  25. 5 out of 5

    SundayAtDusk

    Three stars for a neutral rating since I didn't finish the book. Actually, I had hardly started it before I quit reading. Reading this book made me feel like I was trapped in a foxhole. The war type, not the den type. I was trapped and I was never going to get out, never going to be free of hearing all the author's observations about life and nature and whatever. So, I jumped out of the foxhole and ran . . . I shut the book and tossed it aside. (Note: I received a free ARC of this book from Amazo Three stars for a neutral rating since I didn't finish the book. Actually, I had hardly started it before I quit reading. Reading this book made me feel like I was trapped in a foxhole. The war type, not the den type. I was trapped and I was never going to get out, never going to be free of hearing all the author's observations about life and nature and whatever. So, I jumped out of the foxhole and ran . . . I shut the book and tossed it aside. (Note: I received a free ARC of this book from Amazon Vine.)

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kelsey Raymond

    DNFed it. Way too slow for me. Got about 2/3 of the way through and it was a little too much introspection/not a ton going on.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Onceinabluemoon

    4.5 very good book but i am so animal sensitive I was always worried what was next... I live a quiet life and very in tune with nature and have a love of foxes, an easy book to fall into except for harsh and horrid realities.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tory

    I started off with high hopes, and I enjoyed the first third (although the unnecessarily large words was a bit of a turn-off), but it got a little repetitive and I DNFed at about 2/3rds through. Very meditative, VERY nature-heavy (and I mean *specifics,* like the different genders of types of trees), so if you're a HUGE nature-lover, like, reader of guidebooks, go for it. That's not me though. I started off with high hopes, and I enjoyed the first third (although the unnecessarily large words was a bit of a turn-off), but it got a little repetitive and I DNFed at about 2/3rds through. Very meditative, VERY nature-heavy (and I mean *specifics,* like the different genders of types of trees), so if you're a HUGE nature-lover, like, reader of guidebooks, go for it. That's not me though.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Smith

    She knows a lot and needs to tell you everything in great detail (even her GRE scores) that she loses focus on her relationship with the fox - the title & point of the story.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    While it is a well-written account of one woman's relationship with a wild fox, I felt like it took ages for the story in "Fox & I" to really get going. The narrative style felt a little distant for me, and I also wasn't keen on the sections where the author would narrate from the fox's perspective. The relationship development was interesting, and I liked the descriptions of the natural world, but I was left a bit cold. Nothing to do with the author's talent, which is evident, more that the nar While it is a well-written account of one woman's relationship with a wild fox, I felt like it took ages for the story in "Fox & I" to really get going. The narrative style felt a little distant for me, and I also wasn't keen on the sections where the author would narrate from the fox's perspective. The relationship development was interesting, and I liked the descriptions of the natural world, but I was left a bit cold. Nothing to do with the author's talent, which is evident, more that the narrative style and storytelling weren't to my taste. A lot of people will love this book, it just wasn't for me. Thank you to NetGalley and to the publisher, who granted me a free ARC copy in exchange for an honest review.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...