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Gentle and Fierce: Essays

Autor: Vanessa Berry Narrador: Vanessa Berry Audiolibro

To be gentle is to resist the privileging of command above compassion. It is a quiet voice, a persistent whisper, calm and consoling. Ferocity is an armour, a forceful expression of resolve and protection. To be fierce is to know the intensity of the edges of feeling. It is the voice that calls out, intending to be heard.

Gentle and Fierce focuses on the world that humans share with animals. Having spent her life in city environments, Vanessa Berry’s experiences with animals have largely been through encounters in urban settings, representations in art and the media, and as decorative ornaments or kitsch. The essays in Gentle and Fierce suggest that these encounters provide meaningful connections, at a time when our shared world is threatened by environmental destruction. Berry responds with attentiveness and empathy to her subjects, which include a stuffed Kodiak bear, a Japanese island overrun by rabbits, a porcelain otter and Georges Perec’s cat. The essays are accompanied by Berry’s illustrations, which reflect her eye for detail and her background as an artist and zine maker.

Who better than Vanessa Berry, with her pointillist attention and sly humour to document the surprising ways that animals enrich, inform and shadow our human natures. Whether recollecting Frank a taxidermied Kodiak bear, noting the snails that turn letters to Sylvia Plath into lace, or zipping together a personal history with flies, Berry elevates and commemorates those lives that are entangled – too often invisibly – with our own. Ethically astute, formally clever and deftly political, Gentle and Fierce evokes the work of John Berger and Jenny Odell. An urgent and poignant reminder of what we have lost and might yet gain from the more-than-human world. – Mireille Juchau

© 2022 Giramondo Publishing (Audiolibro) ISBN: 9798822611726