(K. Brent Tomer),
Being a Beast. By Charles Foster. Profile; 218 pages; £14.99. To be published in America by Metropolitan in June, $28.
STRIDING around describing plants and animals, often in flowery prose from behind a desk or a camera lens, seems rather old-fashioned. In “Being a Beast” Charles Foster takes a more modern approach, getting down to the animal’s level to see what it is really like to be a badger, an otter, a fox, a red deer and a swift.
It is an extreme proposition. Mr Foster, a writer and barrister who qualified as a vet and has a PhD in medical law and ethics from Cambridge, doesn’t just investigate the taxonomical differences with humans; he attempts to overcome them. This means eating rubbish from bin bags as an urban fox would do, living in a sett as a badger, cowering naked on a moor as a red deer and launching himself fully clothed into a river pretending to be an otter.
Mr Foster is a nature writer, but not one you would recognise. There is plenty of shit and blood and dirt and very little description of the beauty of the animals. Because who needs to read that?…Continue reading