For almost a decade, Rachel Caine has turned her back on home, kept distant by family disputes and her work monitoring wolves on an Idaho reservation. But now, summoned by the eccentric Earl of Annerdale and his controversial scheme to reintroduce the grey wolf to the English countryside, she is back in the peat and wet light of the Lake District.
The earl's project harks back to an ancient idyll of untamed British wilderness - though Rachel must contend with modern-day concessions to health and safety, public outrage, and political gain - and the return of the grey after hundreds of years coincides with her own regeneration: impending motherhood,and reconciliation with her estranged family.
The Wolf Border investigates the fundamental nature of wilderness and wildness, both animal and human. It seeks to understand the most obsessive aspects of humanity: sex, love, and conflict; the desire to find answers to the question of our existence; those complex systems that govern the most superior creature on Earth.
"What an achievement – so vivid, so visceral, so vital. I can see the wolves and the characters in the landscape like a movie in my head. Every time I picked it up, I struggled to put it down again. It’s a beautiful construction." (Val McDermid)
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Slow and Steady
I bought this audiobook because I loved Louise Brealey's narration in The Girl on the Train and How to Build a Girl. I loved Louise's performance in this, too-- I think she handled all of the characters' various accents very well, and she has a lovely voice to listen to for thirteen hours of commuting.
Sarah Hall is a talented stylist, but I found this book to be very slow. I stopped around 5 hours in, and came back to it several months later, to be honest. There is an excessive amount of description. When action happens, it is well-executed and suspenseful. But Hall chooses to exercise that side of her talent pretty rarely. Often it feels like a 19th century novel, just following the cast around in their lives for stretches at a time.
I love Louise. I'll buy anything she narrates.