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I have lived in urban environments of one size or another (including Brooklyn) for most of my life. While I appreciate the pleasures of the country more than Mr. Siebert does, I don't have much interest in true wilderness and frankly don't understand people who do. Mr. Siebert's repeated assertion is that Nature is Nature where ever you find it and that we are an indivisible part of it, is a welcome rebuttal to all the tiresome whining from the likes of Barry Lopez et al. about how we are spiritually divorced from the Earth/earth etc. Mostly people are comfortable with what they deal with on a regular basis. In the case of Mr. Siebert, a Brooklyn native, that is the urban landscape, its inhabitants, pleasures and dangers. Although he makes a "good student" effort to get to know the names of the plants and animals around him at Wickerby, his knowledge of them is not bred in the bone and he therefore has no deeper connection to them. Since he represents a majority in modern American society, his honesty about his feelings on this subject are refreshing. I much prefer his candor to the silly Romantic musings of so many ex-urbanites and ex-suburbanites who whinge on about the aboriginal splendor of wilderness and pastoral settings and their inhabitants, pleasures and dangers.
Most rural residents are not as isolated and odd as Wickerby's "caretaker", Albert. No other local residents have more than a cameo appearance in the book, so this book should not be received as a rural versus urban community contrast.
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It was funny, insightful and terribly heart breaking!
I loved it. Every detail of the dog's perspective came alive and I really liked that Angus was the actual protagonist.
I was also enjoyed Mr. Siebert's ability to make everyday relationships between humans and dogs exciting with his lyrical and fast-paced writing. I found myself crying and laughing, and crying and laughing over and over again as I read Angus' adventures.
At its deepest level, Angus is the story of the complex relationship between man and his civilized world, and the animal world which we still inhabit, to some extent.
I would highly recommend this book for a nice fall Saturday, or a foggy late summer day in a beach cabin. It is reflective and philosophical, without being tedious. Although the book deals with a small dog's death, the overall tone is not depressing. I found myself looking at my dog in a new light, and grateful for her companionship.
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