What I Don't Know About AnimalsBook - 2011
What does novelist, essayist, and memoirist Jenny Diski know about animals? She wasn't really sure as she began to write this book, and she may not be sure now. But of this she is certain: our relationships with, and attitudes toward, animals are really worth thinking about. In What I Don't Know About Animals , she shows why.
Diski sets out on her wide-ranging investigation by remembering the stuffed cuddly creatures from her childhood, the animal books she read, the cartoons she watched, the strays she found. She considers the animals who have lived and still live with her (most especially Bunty the cat), animals she has encountered close up, and those she has feared. She examines human beings, too, and how they have looked at, studied, treated, and written about the non-human creatures of our shared planet. Ranging still further, the author interviews scientists, discusses Derrida and his cat, and observes elephants in Kenya, always seeking the key to the complex relationship we in the modern West have with animals.
Subtle, intelligent, and always engaging, this book is a brilliant exploration of what it means to be human and what it means to be animal, and the uncertainty of what we can know about either.