Fox & I

An Uncommon Friendship

Catherine Raven

272 pages Proofs in English Original publisher: Spiegel & GrauMemoir

On behalf of: Spiegel & Grau

An unforgettable 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 the mangy-looking fox she’d seen on her property was now showing up 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, she 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 connection 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.

Reviews

“A wise and intimate book about a solitary woman, a biologist by training, who befriends a fox. More than that, it’s the tale of a human mind trained to be logical meeting and being touched by Nature and coming to realize a greater truth. If Thoreau had read The Little Prince, he would have written Fox and I.”—Yann Martel, author of Life of Pi

“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’s and the fox’s friendship charmed me and drew me in completely.” —Ian Frazier, author of Great Plains

“This intimate and poetic account of a biologist’s friendship with a fox overturns the assumption that the world exists for humans to dominate and control. 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

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 Make Us Human

“In this tale of wilderness, in the tradition of Thoreau and Steinbeck, 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 storyteller is startlingly original. I read it breathlessly.”   —Andrei Codrescu

“So original and daring and delightful and weird (in the best sense), both on the level of the idea and the level of language … a really terrific piece of writing.” –Amanda Fortini (judge for the Montana Festival of the Book)