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The Animal Wife Paperback – 7 Nov 1991

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Fontana Press; New edition edition (7 Nov. 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006179150
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006179153
  • Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 10.9 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,031,592 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a follow-on from the excellent Reindeer Moon. Several of the characters from the original book are present and Yanan is referred to and of course the geography is the same (you even get a map with this book!).

The simiarity ends there. The protagonist is Kori, a son of Swift from Reindeer Moon. He is reintroduced to his father on the cusp of manhood and goes to join his mammoth hunting family. This arrangement is complicated by the fact that his father takes on a new wife at the same time, Pinesinger, a girl of Kori's age who happened to be Kori's first and only lover. Now having to call her stepmother and confused by her treatment of him, he is placated by the news that he is to have a wife of his own.

When he reaches the summer hunting ground he learns that this wife is a toddler, which is naturally a disappointment. The book then follows his growth as a hunter and his continuing bafflement with the world of women.

When he sees a woman that is not from the families that everyone knows, he acts on impulse and abducts her. This woman, who does not speak their language, is the "animal wife" of the title - her ways are strange and "against nature" and she cannot talk, so she is the object of scorn by the other tribespeople and a regular source of embarassment and frustration to Kori.

The author makes it plain from the start that this is related to (if not the origin of) the enduring folk tales of an animal wife from eastern Asia and North America - variously Caribou, Fox, Crane and other creatures. As such it must follow its type through to the end, although which exact end is never obvious.
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