Being a Beast
Charles Foster set out to know the ultimate other: the non-humans, the beasts. And to do that, he tried to be like them, choosing a badger, an otter, a fox, a deer, and a swift. He lived alongside badgers for weeks, eating earthworms and learning to sense the landscape by smell rather than sight. He tried to catch fish in his teeth while swimming like an otter, rooted through London garbage cans as an urban fox, was hunted by bloodhounds as a red deer, nearly dying in the snow. And he followed the swifts on their migration route over the Strait of Gibraltar, discovering himself to be strangely connected to the birds.
A lyrical, joyful, and completely radical look at the life of animals--human and other--Being a Beast mingles neuroscience and psychology, nature writing and memoir to cross the boundaries separating the species.
A lyrical exploration of what it is really like to 'be a beast', from swimming with otters to burrowing with badgers, and what this can tell us about the beast inside us all.
Transcendentally eccentric nature writing of the first order. Charles Foster digs deep under the skin of other animals, uncovering gems of wisdom that our usually superficial gaze will otherwise miss -- Hugh Warwick Gleefully lascivious in its physical curiosity, Being a Beast advocates for our highest animality by expanding our sensory intelligence. A flabbergasting, thunderstriking, stupendous, brilliant book -- Jay Griffiths Thrilling, brilliant, bonkers... a strange kind of masterpiece: the song of a satyr, perhaps, or nature writing as extreme sport. Financial Times Charles Foster's chronicle of the sensory lives of beasts and his own forays into self re-wilding is like nothing you have ever read. Deeply serious and at times laugh-out-loud funny, this is an extraordinary book. -- Caspar Henderson Unimaginably different from any book you have ever read - an exploration of our deep kinship with animals that is thought-provoking, funny and full of adventure all at once, brilliantly written, and sparkling with ideas -- Iain McGilchrist Foster is funny and profound and his empathic mission shows our kinship with other species -- Patrick Barkham Guardian Extraordinary... very funny... Foster is well read and writes beautifully. The Sunday Times A wild and whimsical memoir. The Times Takes nature writing to new levels... his work is a triumph. -- Kate Green Country Life Very funny... hones senses long neglected... Mr Foster is the real thing, going truly feral and in the process discovering a whole new world. It is not a midlife crisis so much as a lifelong passion. Economist
Charles Foster is a Fellow at the University of Oxford. Much of his life has been spent on expeditions; he has run a 150 mile race in the Sahara, skied to the North Pole, and 'bled in many beautiful and desolate landscapes'. He has written or contributed to over thirty-five books on subjects including travel, evolutionary biology, natural history, anthropology and philosophy. www.charlesfoster.co.uk