Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: A Black Fox Running (Brian Carter)

Carter, Brian - A Black Fox Running

★★★★★★☆

Title: A Black Fox Running
Author: Brian Carter
Genre: Fiction/Animal Fiction   Pages: 377
First published: 1981
Edition: Hardback, published by Bloomsbury in 2018

This is the story of Wulfgar, the dark-furred fox of Dartmoor, and of his nemesis, Scoble the trapper, in the seasons leading up to the pitiless winter of 1947. As breathtaking in its descriptions of the natural world as it is perceptive its portrayal of damaged humanity, it is both a portrait of place and a gripping story of survival.

I love books written from an animal perspective, but they have to be reasonably realistic for me to enjoy them. I have read plenty of good examples over time and also some really bad ones. This one falls firmly in the first category.

‘There were few things lovelier than the snowy hills set in the soft glow of the universe’

The writing is excellent, exquisite in places, and I soon felt myself pulled into the story of Wulfgar, the black fox of Dartmoor. We read much of the story from his perspective, but we do change perspective every now and then to other foxes and a few humans. The main human character is a cruel trapper called Leonard Scoble, who is haunted by his experiences as a soldier.

I loved how the author managed to give himself a small role to play in this novel. It warmed my heart.

The book does not shy away to show the cruel side of nature, and the hunting nature of the fox. It also deals with humans hunting foxes and other animals in a variety of ways. It does not antropomorphise too much, which is a pet peeve of mine in books in this genre.  It sometimes meanders a tad too much, which stops it short of being a perfect read, but overall this was such a wonderful reading experience that I can safely say that I will cherish this book forever. I can definitely see myself reading it again in the future.

My edition also has lovely little illustrations that add to the charm of the story.

If you like Watership Down, I am absolutely positive you will love this just as much, if not more.

A new favourite.

6 out of 7 stars

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