Books by Farley Mowat

BAY OF SPIRITS by Farley Mowat
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 4, 2007

"A bracing tale of the fierce struggle waged by those devoted to the sea as a way of life."
Hardy, sea-sprayed travelogue of the author's colorful journeys along the rugged Newfoundland coast in the 1950s and '60s. Read full book review >
NO MAN’S RIVER by Farley Mowat
HISTORY
Released: Sept. 1, 2004

"A superior example of Mowat's chronicling powers, illuminating a grand Canadian region that was about to change forever."
Master wilderness storyteller Mowat (High Latitudes, 2003, etc.) spins a rousing tale of travels through the Canadian Far North during 1947, darkened a bit by forebodings about the future. Read full book review >
HIGH LATITUDES by Farley Mowat
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 1, 2003

"A fine slice out of Mowat time, along with the sound of voices so remote that they take your breath away and rouse your instinct to wonder—just as Mowat wished."
A 1966 journey across northern Canada, much of it above the Arctic Circle. Read full book review >
AFTERMATH by Farley Mowat
NONFICTION
Released: Sept. 1, 1996

Part travelogue, part war memoir, this insubstantial, disjointed reminiscence succeeds as neither. In 1953, buoyed by a book advance, Mowat (Born Naked, 1994, etc.) and his wife, Frances, returned to Europe to revisit some of the battlefields where he and his fellow Canadians had fought during WW II. Clearly, he was a witness to enormous suffering and carnage, so much so that eight years later the wounds were still painfully fresh. He describes recoiling in disgust from the few German tourists he encountered and keeping away from sites where the bad memories would be too overwhelming. Much of the book, in fact, is an anti-memoirish ellipsis, even avoidance, of the past. While one doesn't begrudge Mowat this reluctance, it does give a strained, unfulfilling quality to the writing. In fact, there seems to be so much that he doesn't really want to remember, one wonders why he wrote this book at all. His war is much better described in his letters home, collected in My Father's Son (1992). As for Mowat the traveler, large parts of this book are all too reminiscent of a neighbor's endless back-from-vacation slide show: a large bolus of barely digested detail. Mowat does shine, however, in his depiction of the natural world. His descriptions of the resiliency of nature—and even man—are particularly moving, as again and again he finds new life reappearing on even the most devastated battlefields. Ducks return to a firing range, ponds form from bomb craters, saplings sprout in shell-torn mud. Here, in the constancy and strength of nature, Mowat finds a grain of hope against human folly. An unsatisfying ramble, salvaged by a few striking passages. Read full book review >
BORN NAKED by Farley Mowat
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 5, 1994

This spirited memoir of a Canadian childhood by the great nature writer (Never Cry Wolf—not reviewed) is a prequel to My Father's Son and gives the boy's version of the years given a dog's-eye view in The Dog Who Wouldn't Be. Mowat comes from a long line of male misfits. His grandfather was a poet and general failure at whatever he tried, and his father, Angus, was much the same, although he eventually made a living as a novelist-librarian. To most readers, Mowat's childhood will seem a dream, though it's presented with grit and texture. Angus was for a time a beekeeper, and the family lived on oatmeal, soda crackers, and honey until a pestilence killed the bees by the tens of thousands. Angus' trials as a sailor took a toll on his long-suffering wife, Helen, as, year after year, she and Farley (called Bunje) faced storms at sea and holds awash. Bunje acquired an early love for snowshoeing in the woods, iceboating, and fishing. In these pages he fixates on animals, insects, frogs, crayfish, and creepy-crawlies of all shapes and sizes, whom he calls the ``Others,'' and often bathes in the tub with Hercules, his turtle the size of a small dinner plate. He sinks into a great manure pile and loses his pants and shoes. He and pal Geordie snatch funny rubber things from the sewage disposal pipes, fill them with water, and bomb people from his parents' bedroom window. As he turns nine, his idyllic 1920s darken into the '30s as the Depression deepens. Bunje becomes a tireless scribbler of doggerel, much of which he repeats here. Offered a library job in far-off Saskatchewan, Angus builds an ark to hitch onto their coupe and the family sets off on a huge odyssey across Canada to the wildlife- filled prairies that awaken young Mowat to the best days of his life. Born Naked is, like Bunje, wide-eyed and bouncy with the basic joy of being conscious. Read full book review >
MY FATHER'S SON by Farley Mowat
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 11, 1993

"Not a classic—Mowat's talent hadn't yet matured, and Angus wasn't of Farley's stature as a writer—but a bracing reminder of what really matters."
A one-of-a-kind book, and with a misleading authorship—for this is actually a collection of correspondence between Mowat, one of Canada's most popular and cantakerous writers, and his novelist-librarian father during the harrowing World War II years of 1942-45. Read full book review >