Callum McLaughlin's Reviews > The Secret Life of the Owl

The Secret Life of the Owl by John Lewis-Stempel
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bookshelves: nature, non-fiction

Well researched fact and passionate prose come together to form a compact and enjoyable, if not revolutionary look at the owl species native to Britain, and man's complicated relationship with them. John Lewis-Stempel can write beautifully, and he manages to convey genuine awe and respect for his subject matter, whilst remaining informative and unbiased.

That said, a section of the book looks at man's historic vilification of owls, suggesting that their association with evil, darkness, death, and suffering is unjust. However, he then ends the book by describing a particular owl as ‘The Lord of the Night’; detailing the joy it gets from the paralysing screams of a dying rabbit ringing out in the cold dead of night. Whilst it's one of the most evocative sequences in the book, it felt like an odd and somewhat contradictory tone to end on, given the previous attempts to redefine their reputation.

I can’t say I learned much from it, but it was an interesting overview nonetheless. I’d say it’s worth a read for those fascinated by owls, and for those who like their nature non-fiction presented in lovely prose, befitting of the sense of wonder that the creatures themselves evoke.
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Reading Progress

January 28, 2019 – Started Reading
January 28, 2019 – Shelved
January 28, 2019 – Shelved as: nature
January 28, 2019 – Shelved as: non-fiction
January 29, 2019 – Finished Reading

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