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Review: The Call of the Wild

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The Call of the Wild
The Call of the Wild by Jack London
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Recently, I’ve been listening to Lit2Go audio readings of classic novels. With The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton completed days ago, I moved on to Call of the Wild by Jack London (apparently published in 1903), a book I’ve been wanting to read for years but never got around to due my tendency to get distracted.
Call of the Wild tells the story of a German Shepherd and Saint Bernhard cross named Buck. He begins the story at age four, where he is the pampered hunting companion of a judge. His life goes from bad to worse when he is stolen by the gardener’s assistant and sold into slavery, bound for a life as a working dog in Alaska. He moves from owner to owner, all the while primordial instincts are slowly bubbling to the surface.
Jack London did a great job of telling this tale, one told from the perspective of a dog at a time when men are endeavoring to tame the wilds and find their fortune in that new frontier of Alaska. Though the thoughts and actions are sometimes very much like the humans that he’s spent so much of his life with, we see his metamorphosis into the fabled ghost dog.
The dialogue and descriptions of the working dog’s life shows a stark and often bleak existence for animals at a time when dogs were used in the stead of other pack animals. It was gritty at times, but London has a gift for showing contrasts. While on one hand it is a hard life, the men and dogs soon become dependent on it.
Jack London gift for foreshadowing lets the reader know that something big is going to happen to Buck. The rather amazing final action sequence transforms Buck from servant to master. I loved London’s description of Buck jumping from person to person ripping out jugulars and taking down his foes by way of crossfire. It was almost supernatural in its intensity and awesomeness, a scene that will remain in my imagination for years to come.
Why on earth haven’t I read this book sooner? It was amazing, with characters and situations that draw the reader in whilst not romanticizing a life that at the time of the book’s publication was calling to so many. This rather unusual take on the hero’s journey was one that has inspired me to read more of London’s writings in the not-so-distant future.

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Author: keikomushi

Reader, Writer, New Media Buff, Anime Fangirl, Gnome Hunter, Last Action Femme Fatale, Appreciator of Nature, Jack-of-all-trades.

One thought on “Review: The Call of the Wild

  1. Pingback: World of Keiko 06/05/2012 | Keiko Online

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