Saturday, October 24, 2009

Kazan the Wolf Dog by James Oliver Curwood

About the book: This novel follows the life of Kazan, a wolf-dog hybrid, who constantly struggles between the call of the wild and the comforts of the civilized world. Trained as a sledge dog in the Canadian wilderness, Kazan has learned to keep man at arm's length. He knows they provide him with food and shelter, but they also bring with them serious abuse and mistreatment. Despite his deep-seeded suspicions, Kazan develops a love and affection for the caress and tenderness he finds in a woman named Joan, the wife of one of his masters. Yet, his love for Joan is not enough to quell his desire to experience life beyond the safety of his domestic life. Seizing an unexpected opportunity, Kazan bounds off to freedom and the unknown. Once in the wild, Kazan quickly adapts to a life that finds him always on the brink of starvation, battling arctic temperatures, and learning to exist in a delicate balance of nature. Kazan develops a lust for the hunt, learns to survive the harsh Canadian winters, and even finds a life mate in ever-faithful Gray Wolf. The two of them experience all the happiness and cruelty a life-in-the-wild brings with it. Yet, despite Kazan's yearning to remain in the wilderness and the loyalty he feels toward Gray Wolf, who through an unexpected blindness becomes increasingly dependent upon Kazan for her survival, he still finds himself torn between two separate worlds. It is this longing that repeatedly draws Kazan back to civilization. Kazan is always listening, searching for Joan and the peace he felt in her presence. Through many thrilling adventures and gut-wrenching tragedies, Kazan is led in a direction that will ultimately determine his fate and help him decide where he truly belongs. This novel is ideal for older teens and Young Adults who have an interest in animals or wildlife. James Oliver Curwood is a genius at bringing the reader into the mind of Kazan and Gray Wolf, as well as the humans they interact with throughout their adventures. Well written and compelling, this novel is worth a read. 2005, Newmarket Press, Ages 15 up. Emily Cook
My thoughts: I remember reading this book as a child, 12 or 13, and being facinated. At the time we lived in Alaska, so that added to my facination. I read this as part of a personal reading challenge, Books On My Shelf That Are Older Than Me. The orignal story was published in 1914 but my copy was printed in 1942. What a great sense of time and place this story gave me. It is an excellent adventure set in the rugged North. I'm happy to have rekindled my love of this book.
Read about James Oliver Curwood HERE.

1 comment:

Jo, a retired teacher said...

I haven't read that one, but it sounds similar to Jack London's Call of the Wild and White Fang. I'll suggest it to my grandsons.