Fiction

The Call of the Wild

First published in 1903, The Call of the Wild follows Buck, a mutt ripped from his life of comfort in sunny California and thrust into the harsh Yukon wilderness as a newly trained sled dog. He cycles through a variety of owners, each of whom presents challenges for Buck to overcome—whether they be aggressive packmates, dangerous and icy rivers, or simple human incompetence and folly. Jack London’s whole story is a study in Darwinian survival and what it takes to thrive in an unforgiving landscape. Because of London’s commitment to this theme, The Call of the Wild does not shy away from violence and death despite its unusual canine narrator; fights between dogs end with blood spattered across snow. The story is not without its uplifting moments and occasional droll humor, however. Descriptions of nature are often stunning, and Buck’s relationship with his best master, John Thorton, is poignant and relatable for any dog owner. Following its serialized publication, The Call of the Wild catapulted Jack London to fame and popularity. It has never been out of print, testifying to its enduring popularity.

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