LibriVox: White Fang by Jack London

SFFaudio Online Audio

LibriVoxI’m not much for re-reading books. I will do it, but I usually prefer a new book to even a fondly remembered one. But I do make exceptions, now and again. One book, which I re-read on what is fast becoming a seasonal basis is Jack London’s The Call Of The Wild. I can’t say I get more and more out of it every time I read it, but I do find that it’s many charms are highly resilient to repeated reading, that its lessons are true, in a way only fiction can deliver, and that it makes for a terrific source of entertainment when read aloud. Go on, read this passage aloud:

Buck staggered over against the sled, exhausted, sobbing for breath, helpless. This was Spitz’s opportunity. He sprang upon Buck, and twice his teeth sank into his unresisting foe and ripped and tore the flesh to the bone. Then François’s lash descended, and Buck had the satisfaction of watching Spitz receive the worst whipping as yet administered to any of the teams.

“One devil, dat Spitz,” remarked Perrault. “Some dam day heem keel dat Buck.”

“Dat Buck two devils,” was François’s rejoinder. “All de tam I watch dat Buck I know for sure. Lissen: some dam fine day heem get mad lak hell an’ den heem chew dat Spitz all up an’ spit heem out on de snow. Sure. I know.”

From then on it was war between them.

Another part of my love for The Call Of The Wild probably comes from my personal connection to the landscape and the romanticism of it all – and frankly that’s completely crazy! I’ve never mushed a dogsled, never faced a starving pack of rabid huskies and have never even been to the Yukon Territory! But, in my defense, I’ve known dog-sledders, lived in a remote northern British Columbia community, and made personal contact with hungry black-bears (on more than one occasion). Heck, I even had partial ownership of two Siberian Huskies for a while. Jack London is a smashing writer and I’m still rather embarrassed to admit there’s one book of his that I’m pretty sure I haven’t read (at least since I was a kid). And that’s this one, White Fang, the spiritual sequel, the opposite number, the bloody companion book to my beloved The Call Of The Wild!

So, now I have a question. Who will take up this adventure with me, listening or reading, for perhaps the first time, to Jack London’s immortal novel White Fang? Leave a comment, let me know if you’d like to participate in an upcoming SFFaudio Podcast Readalong for White Fang.

LIBRIVOX - White Fang by Jack LondonWhite Fang
By Jack London; Read by Mark F. Smith
25 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 7 Hours 44 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: October 03, 2010
When White Fang is birthed in a cave to a wolf sire and a wolf/dog halfbreed dam, he is heir to two traditions. At first he is content to explore and learn laws of the Wild. But then his mother is caught and held by old memories of a past relationship with Man, and White Fang follows her into service with the Indians. Life among sled dogs is hardly less cruel and dangerous than living in the Wild, but brutality notches upward when his drunken master sells him to a nasty, twisted hanger-on at a riverside town of white men. He is stripped of everything soft and gentle when forced to fight to the death for a crowd of bettors. Taming this savage spirit and reclaiming the nobility within looks impossible. Fortunately, and heart-warmingly, a man arrives in White Fang’s life to try. “White Fang” is often called the mirror image of Jack London’s acclaimed “The Call of the Wild” in which a dog follows the reverse arc from tame to free.

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[Thanks also to James Christopher and J.M. Smallheer ]

Posted by Jesse Willis

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