Chris's Reviews > Love of Life: & Other Stories

Love of Life by Jack London
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May 27, 2010

it was amazing

Jack London is one of my favorite authors. He dive-bombs straight into an exploration of the endurance of the human spirit, and makes it walk to the very brink of insanity and death before pulling it back to see what burned off in the struggle. He subjects his stories' heroes to the most tortuous of scenarios and the most savage of antagonists that strips the skin, muscles, and bones from the protagonist's character until the last bit of grit is revealed that signifies the truest bit of life that lies buried in each of us beneath all the fatty comforts, convenience, and beyond the reach of all self-deception. London is notorious for holding his characters squirming under the microscope of his story, and suddenly reveals that it is our own doppelganger that is writhing in agony of exposure beneath our very eyes! London seizes us by the throat and peels away our trappings layer by layer until he is able to divide between the animal and the divine in us. It is discomfiting, but enlightening, and strangely rejuvenating as one begins to reclothe the spirit a bit more honestly and intentionally when the story is finished. Just keep your fingers away from London's teeth--he will tear the skin if you brush too closely against his piercing deconstruction of the carnal facade of the soul that might be a bit more fragile than we think.

"Love Of Life" (1907) is a collection of stories about the endurance, survival, and even the death of the human spirit, and most occur in catastrophic incidents that keep the reader on the edge of his seat. Many of the stories take place in the Yukon province of Canada that borders Alaska, and as London had an unflagging interest in the Gold Rush of 1898, his plots center around the hardships that faced the natives of Alaska and western prospectors as a result of man's insatiable thirst for riches and adventure.

My favorite story in this anthology was "Brown Wolf". It is a simple tale about a dog that was half wolf, raised in the Yukon as a sled dog, but later domesticated on a quiet farm, living a peaceful existence, and waited on by gentle people. The author teases out the desires of the dog that is torn between a thirst for danger (wolf), and alternately a thirst for safety (dog). It is the tension between home and adventure, between comfort and risk, and the end of the story reveals London's own belief in the ultimate leanings of mankind as represented in the struggle between plant and animal in Brown Wolf.

London won't let you read quietly. He rips a hole right through your chest so you can see what makes your guts quiver. And he likes it. And I like it... 'cause when I zip back up, I know a little more who I am. Which is much more than we sometimes think.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
May 23, 2010 – Finished Reading
May 27, 2010 – Shelved

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Jen (new)

Jen Shank Dear Jack London,

For you to earn 5 stars from my husband is a feat in and of itself. But for him to call you one of his favorite authors after only reading a few of your works is simply astounding. Dude you are in a league.

Sincerely,
Your new Admirer


Chris Well, I've read more than a few, but less than a lot. And I love me some London.


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