Karen Joy Fowler Archive
As A.A. Milne wrote in Winnie-the-Pooh, “Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That’s the problem.” The simple act of reading about animals challenges the conventional way that humans impose orders on other creatures, without wondering about their lives.
It’s unsurprising that parenting is fertile ground for novelists. There are plenty of stories, both in fiction and in real life, of parental sacrifice for the sake of children. More surprising are the accounts of parents using their children for the sake of their work.
It is fitting that the bowerbird roosts in the opening lines of Ted Hughes’s poem “A Literary Life,” for there is perhaps no better mascot for reader and writer both. The species is a known collector, spending the better part of the year building complicated huts from assorted novelties: