I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The Philosopher and the Wolf: Lessons in Love, Death, and Happiness by Mark Rowlands
Published by Pegasus Books on June 14, 2011
Genres: Memoir, Non-Fiction, Philosophy
This fascinating book charts the relationship between Mark Rowlands, a rootless philosopher, and Brenin, his well-traveled wolf. After acquiring Brenin as a cub, it quickly became apparent that Breinin was never to be left alone, as the consequences to Mark's house and its contents were dire. As a result, Brenin and Mark went everywhere together-from classroom lecture to Ireland, England, and France. More than just an exotic pet, Brenin exerted an immense influence on Rowlands as both a person, and, strangely enough, as a philosopher, leading him to re-evaluate his attitude to love, happiness, nature and death. By turns funny (what do you do when your wolf eats your air-conditioning unit?) and poignant, this life-affirming book will make you reappraise what it means to be human.
This book is part memoir, part story of the 11 years spent with his wolf named Brenin and the impression that he made on his life, and part philosophical interpretation of what it means to be human. I can’t claim to be a true lover of Philosophy; however, this book and the author’s writing style kept me engaged. The novels main emphasis tends to focus on the differences between men and wolves from a philosophical stand point. Not only his personal philosophical views but also various different philosophers’ and how their opinions and views apply to certain situations.
The book does not consistently tell the story of his life with Brenin, rather there are bits and pieces interspersed throughout the book with philosophical concepts in between. I would have liked to see more time spent on the connection between him and Brenin because their relationship was pretty amazing.
“But when I remember Brenin, I remember also that what is most important is the you that remains when your calculations fail – when the schemes you have schemed shudder to a halt, and the lies you have lied stick in your throat. In the end, it’s all luck – all of it – and the gods can take away your luck as quickly as they confer it. What is most important is the person you are when your luck runs out.”
The novel was very intellectually stimulating; I just wish I had more knowledge of philosophy in order for me to be able to truly appreciate it. Insightful, nonetheless, and I did enjoy the experience.