(E-)Book Read! THE CALL OF THE WILD by Jack London

Jack London, The Call of the Wild (1903).

First sentence: “Buck didn’t read the newspapers, or he would have known that trouble was brewing, not alone for himself, but for every tide-water dog, strong of muscle and with warm, long hair, from Puget Sound to San Diego.”

Last sentence: “When the long winter nights come on and the wolves follow their meat into the lower valleys, he may be seen running at the head of the pack through the pale moonlight or glimmering Borealis, leaping gigantic above his fellows, his great throat a-bellow as he sings a song of the younger world, which is the song of the pack.”

From Wikipedia: The story takes place in the extreme conditions of the Yukon during the 19th-century Klondike Gold Rush where strong sled dogs were in high demand. After Buck, a domesticated dog, is snatched from a pastoral ranch in California, he is sold into a brutal life as a sled dog. The novella details Buck’s struggle to adjust and survive the cruel treatment he receives from humans, other dogs, and nature. He eventually sheds the veneer of civilization altogether and instead relies on primordial instincts and the lessons he has learned to become a respected and feared leader in the wild.

The Call of the Wild is London’s most popular work and is considered the masterpiece of his so-called “early period.” The novella is often classified as children’s literature because of its animal protagonist, but the maturity of its subject matter makes it valuable for older audiences as well. Major themes include survival of the fittest, civilization versus nature, and fate versus free will.

This novella was a nice quick read.  Buck is a survivor, and a smart dog, who adapts himself quickly to the changing circumstances of his life.  It was nice to read a story that had a dog as its main character.

Everyone who loves dogs and adventure, will enjoy this book.

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5 Comments

  1. I ‘ve only read Jack London by Martin Eden and it was my Jane Eyre when I was young (meaning, lots of girls love JE, I loved JL). I know of this book but I’ve never felt interested in reading it. The fact that it’s narrated by a dog doesn’t appeal to me. But, you liked it a lot, it seems. So maybe I should try this after all.

    • I had never read a Jack London book, although I knew his name. I liked this novella a lot. Although the dog is the main character, the story is not told by him, but by an anonymous narrator. Maybe you should give it a try (it is a quick read and you can get the e-book for free).
      Did you have a favourite book by London, Judith?

      • I think Martin Eden is the only book I read by Jack London and I loved that! I haven’t read it for a while but I used to re-read it a lot. It reminded me of Hunger by Knut Hamsun, which was written around the same time, I think – both books are about a struggling writer who shall and will be a writer and sacrifices everything in order to get there (with in the back ground a girl they want to conquer).

      • Books about someone desperately wanting to be a writer? I’ll have to read that too… Thanks, Judith.

    • I hadn’t read a Jack London before, although I knew his name. And I really loved this book. Although the dog is the main character, the story isn’t told by him, but by an unknown narrator. Perhaps you should give it a try, Judith. It is a quick read and you can get the e-book for free. Did you have a favourite title by London, Judith?

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