Read of the Week: Being a Beast by Charles Foster
An unusual and intriguing choice from Course Leader Tom this week with Charles Foster’s Being a Beast.
‘I want to have a more articulate talk with the land. It’s just another way of knowing myself better, and my self-obsession insists that that’s worthwhile. A good way to go about it is to have a more articulate talk with the […] ripping, springing, exulting lumps of the land we call the animals.’
Charles Foster, Being a Beast
Charles Foster lives as badger, otter, red deer, urban fox and swift. He eats earthworms and out of bins, is hunted by a bloodhound, tries catching fish with his teeth, and nearly dies on a snowy Scottish hillside.
He gets into the sensory and emotional worlds of these animals and discovers a new way of being in the woods, rivers, parks and backyards that we (or I, anyway) too often take little notice of. Although these lives can seem excitingly alien, it left me feeling more connected – to my environment and to other living things. It made me feel alive.
It’s a work of nature writing, and of the imagination. In trying to be an animal, Foster learns something of what it means to be a human. It’s a rich and thrilling picture of the world that made me think differently about my place in it.