The first book I ever wrote was called Herbert the Near-sighted Pigeon, which was produced in an edition of one and distributed on the kitchen table to my parents. I was five years old. Since then, I’ve returned to the subject of animals again and again. I am endlessly curious about what their lives are like and how we live with them, and I’m fascinated by how we navigate the fuzzy, puzzling divide between wild and tame.
On Animals is a collection of my favorites of those pieces. They range from stories about lions to tigers to panda bears and beyond; profiles of dogs and donkeys; meditations on what it’s like to raise chickens and care for whales. These are stories about animals that star in movies and animals that go to war and animals that are celebrated for being beautiful.
I think I’ll always have animals and I think I’ll always write about them. Their unknowability challenges me. Our affection for them intrigues me. I try to resist the urge to anthropomorphize them, but I do think animals know something we don’t about living simply and purely. I’m happy to be in their company.