Susan Orleanâ€”the beloved New Yorker staff writer hailed as â€śa national treasureâ€ť by The Washington Post and the author of the New York Times bestseller The Library Bookâ€”gathers a lifetime of musings, meditations, and in-depth profiles about animals.
â€śHow we interact with animals has preoccupied philosophers, poets, and naturalists for ages,â€ť writes Susan Orlean. Since the age of six, when Orlean wrote and illustrated a book called Herbert the Near-Sighted Pigeon, sheâ€™s been drawn to stories about how we live with animals, and how they abide by us. Now, in On Animals, she examines animal-human relationships through the compelling tales she has written over the course of her celebrated career.
These stories consider a range of creaturesâ€”the household pets we dote on, the animals we raise to end up as meat on our plates, the creatures who could eat us for dinner, the various tamed and untamed animals we share our planet with who are central to human life. In her own backyard, Orlean discovers the delights of keeping chickens. In a different backyard, in New Jersey, she meets a woman who has twenty-three pet tigersâ€”something none of her neighbors knew about until one of the tigers escapes. In Iceland, the worldâ€™s most famous whale resists the efforts to set him free; in Morocco, the worldâ€™s hardest-working donkeys find respite at a special clinic. We meet a show dog and a lost dog and a pigeon who knows exactly how to get home.
Equal parts delightful and profound, enriched by Orleanâ€™s stylish prose and precise research, these stories celebrate the meaningful cross-species connections that grace our collective existence.