About the Book
After receiving her PhD in biology, Raven lived in an isolated cottage in Montana, teaching remotely and leading field classes in Yellowstone National Park. Her only regular visitor was a fox, with whom she developed a friendship and from whom she learned about growth, loss, and belonging.
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!
Winner of The PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award * Nautilus Book Awards Gold Winner * Shortlisted for the John Burroughs Medal * Finalist for the Stubbendieck Great Plains Distinguished Book Prize * Shortlisted for a Reading the West Book Award
A Christian Science Monitor Best Book of the Year * 2021 Summer Reading Pick by BUZZFEED * NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW * KIRKUS * TIME MAGAZINE * GOOD MORNING AMERICA * PEOPLE MAGAZINE * THE WASHINGTON POST
"The book everyone will be talking about ... full of tenderness and understanding. --The New York Times
An "extraordinary" (Oprah Daily) memoir about the friendship between a solitary woman and a wild fox.
When Catherine Raven finished her PhD in biology, she built herself a tiny cottage on an isolated plot of land in Montana. She was as emotionally isolated as she was physically, but she viewed the house as a way station, a temporary rest stop where she could gather her nerves and fill out applications for what she hoped would be a real job that would help her fit into society. In the meantime, she taught remotely and led field classes in nearby Yellowstone National Park.
Then one day she realized that a mangy-looking fox was showing up on her property every afternoon at 4:15 p.m. She had never had a regular visitor before. How do you even talk to a fox? She brought out her camping chair, sat as close to him as she dared, and began reading to him from The Little Prince. Her scientific training had taught her not to anthropomorphize animals, yet as she grew to know him, his personality revealed itself and they became friends.
From the fox, Catherine learned the single most important thing about loneliness: we are never alone when we are connected to the natural world. Friends, however, cannot save each other from the uncontained forces of nature.
Fox and I is a poignant and remarkable tale of friendship, growth, and coping with inevitable loss--and of how that loss can be transformed into meaning. It is both a timely tale of solitude and belonging as well as a timeless story of one woman whose immersion in the natural world will change the way we view our surroundings--each tree, weed, flower, stone, or fox.
"Mysterious and magical."--Wall Street Journal
"The book everyone will be talking about
... [A] real-life friendship that mirrors the one between Saint-Exupéry's Little Prince and his fox, full of tenderness and understanding."--The New York Times
"Entrancing.... Raven's gorgeous account of her bond with a fox while living in a remote cabin will open readers' eyes to the ways humans connect to the natural world and vice versa. ... If there's one book you pick up this summer, make it this one."--Bethanne Patrick, Washington Post
"What emotional vocabulary can express both the joy and the doubts [Raven] experienced devoting copious time and love to a wild creature? This fanciful, literate, unsentimental and yet deeply felt memoir is her answer. ... [Raven is] a superb nature writer. ... [T]he experience of journeying alongside her as she lives with Fox and meditates about him is extremely rewarding...Fox and I
will appeal to those who despair about human depredation of the natural world and sense climate change as the looming, existential threat to life. But Raven's book isn't a treatise, it isn't a call to arms, it isn't political. Perhaps it is best understood as a plea for understanding. Raven needed Fox: He changed her, made her more comfortable in the world. He showed her that even when padding along under the glorious full moon's light, it's better to have someone at your side."--Clare McHugh, Washington Post
"In this quiet, charming memoir, Raven recounts her journey to accepting this unusual companion.... Throughout, Raven writes about her environment with wonder and reverence but never formality--it's the easy affection of someone who's long made family of the natural world."--BuzzFeed News
"Raven's extraordinary memoir is a love song to the animal who miraculously arrives in the front yard of her remote cabin every afternoon to be read passages from The Little Prince
. A poetic, revelatory portrait of a biologist's solitary sojourn."--Oprah Daily
"It's a familiar story arc: human becomes best friends with a wild animal and life lessons are learned. Yet in biologist and former Glacier National Park ranger Catherine Raven's hands, the story--of isolation and tender friendship with a wild fox--feels new. ...Her memoir reminds us that connection to the natural world comes in many forms."--Time Magazine
"[Raven's] reflections shine a spotlight on the path out of loneliness, reminding us all that nature itself will ensure none of us are ever truly alone."--Zibby Owens, Good Morning America
"A soulful and indelible exploration of an interspecies friendship."--Booklist
"A heartfelt meditation on the power of nature and a touching homage to a beloved wild friend."--Kirkus
"[An] offbeat and charming memoir. .... Along with reverently describing her furry friend--who had a 'face so innocent that you would have concluded that he never stalked a bluebird, let alone dismembered one'--Raven writes poetically about the flora ("my sun-worshipping tenants") and fauna around her. Rich and meditative, Raven's musings on nature and solitude are delightful company."--Publishers Weekly
"Fox and I
will make you feel deeply about our relationship with animals and nature. After you read this book, you will experience animals in a new and marvelous way."--Temple Grandin, author of Animals in Translation
"The observations of high-desert nature--of wildlife, plants, landscapes, weather--in this book are some of the best you will ever read. The story of Catherine Raven and the fox's friendship charmed me and drew me in completely."--Ian Frazier, author of Great Plains
"If Thoreau had read The Little Prince
, he would have written Fox and I
."--Yann Martel, author of Life of Pi
"Intimate and poetic .... By paying ecstatic attention to grasses, insects, birds, and animals, Catherine Raven allows us to hear what nature is saying to us. Fox and I
is essential reading for anyone concerned about the catastrophe human beings are inflicting on the environment from which they and all other creatures sprang."--Stephen Batchelor, author of The Art of Solitude
"This tale of wilderness, in the tradition of Thoreau and Steinbeck, is distinguished by a narrator who sees herself as one of the many creatures she lives among .... Catherine Raven has achieved something unique in the literature of nature-writing: genuine love for the wild within the rigor of scientific observation. The voice of this story-teller is startlingly original. I read it breathlessly."--Andrei Codrescu
"Both beautiful and moving, as well as philosophically stimulating regarding the approach to anthropomorphism. I have never read this discourse so well explored before. Normally anthropomorphism is used as a criticism and here it is also played as a defense against reductionist science seeking to `other' creatures from the fellowship of feelings for emotional intelligence. A Thoreau for the new Green Enlightenment."--Sir Tim Smit, co-founder of The Eden Project
"Fox and I
is a mesmerizing, beautifully written, and entirely unsentimental book about the connection among all things: the author and her fox friend, but also magpies, brown dogs, fawns, voles, and junipers. I learned as much about the meaning of friendship from this book as I have from any work of nonfiction that I've ever read."--Will Schwalbe, author of The End of Your Life Book Club
"Utterly Captivating... Beautiful and wise without ever being sappy or manipulative."
--Christian Science Monitor
About the Author
Catherine Raven is a former national park ranger at Glacier, Mount Rainier, North Cascades, Voyageurs, and Yellowstone national parks. She earned a PhD in biology from Montana State University, holds degrees in zoology and botany from the University of Montana, and is a member of American Mensa and Sigma Xi. Her natural history essays have appeared in American Scientist
, Journal of American Mensa
, and Montana Magazine
. You can find her in Fox's valley tugging tumbleweeds from the sloughs.