From the award-winning author of The Electric Michelangelo, one of the most decorated young British writers working today, comes a literary masterpiece: a breathtaking work that beautifully and provocatively surveys the frontiers of the human spirit and our animal drives.
For almost a decade, zoologist Rachel Caine has lived a solitary existence far from her estranged family in England, monitoring wolves in a remote section of Idaho as part of a wildlife recovery program. But a surprising phone call takes her back to the peat and wet light of the Lake District where she grew up. The eccentric Earl of Annerdale has a controversial scheme to reintroduce the Grey Wolf to the English countryside, and he wants Rachel to spearhead the project. Though she’s skeptical, the earl’s lands are close to the village where she grew up, and where her aging mother now lives.
While the earl’s plan harks back to an ancient idyll of untamed British wilderness, Rachel must contend with modern-day realities—health and safety issues, public anger and fear, cynical political interests. But the return of the Grey unexpectedly sparks her own regeneration.
Exploring the fundamental nature of wilderness and wildness, The Wolf Border illuminates both our animal nature and humanity: sex, love, conflict, and the desire to find answers to the question of our existence—the emotions, desires, and needs that rule our lives.
Known for her eccentric and brooding characters sporting various creative talents (photographers, painters, tattoo artists), Man Booker finalist Hall (The Electric Michelangelo) tackles the union of nature and British politics in her subdued and ruminative fifth novel. Featuring writing that is less flamboyant but just as deliberate and sturdy as her previous books, the narrative follows zoologist Rachel Caine. At the outset, she leaves her job at an Idaho wildlife recovery program for her native England, where she'll oversee a controversial project to reintroduce a pair of imported gray wolves to the English wild by way of the Earl of Annendale's immense Cumbrian estate. The logistics of training, tagging, and monitoring the majestic animals soon play second fiddle to more urgent matters Rachel's mother's suicide; the reunion with her estranged half brother, whom she learns has a drug problem; and her unplanned pregnancy after a one-night stand in America with an old friend and ex-colleague. As she juggles being a mother at nearly 40, her son's "galactic" temper tantrums, and a budding relationship with an English veterinarian, Rachel slowly redefines who she is and what kind of happiness she's capable of. The wolves' journey toward a new kind of freedom serves as a powerful parallel to Rachel's own struggle to become an increasingly independent woman.
Customer ReviewsSee All
An incredible book.
Beautifully, poetically written. I am so sad to be leaving all the characters and the wolves. This is a story I wanted to go on and on. At one point in this intense narrative I became so anxious that I speed read for many pages racing to know what happened to the wolves. What a tremendous book!