Between Light and Storm | Granta

  • Published: 03/09/2020
  • ISBN: 9781783782796
  • Granta Books
  • 368 pages

Between Light and Storm

Esther Woolfson

Beginning with the very origins of life on Earth, Woolfson considers pre-historic human-animal interaction and traces the millennia-long evolution of conceptions of the soul and conscience in relation to the animal kingdom, and the consequences of our belief in human superiority. She explores our representation of animals in art, our consumption of them for food, our experiments on them for science, and our willingness to slaughter them for sport and fashion, as well as examining concepts of love and ownership.

Drawing on philosophy and theology, art and history, as well as her own experience of living with animals and coming to know, love and respect them as individuals, Woolfson examines some of the most complex ethical issues surrounding our treatment of animals and argues passionately and persuasively for a more humble, more humane, relationship with the creatures who share our world.

For all the talk of an "animal turn," discussions of animals have today become so filled with jargon and political rhetoric that the creatures themselves often seem reduced to little more than rhetorical tropes. Between Light and Storm by Esther Woolfson is a book that can put the animals back in Animal Studies. The discussions in it are not only beautifully written and rich in historical detail but also filtered through personal reflection and experience. I know of no better introduction to the study of human-animal relations

Boria Sax, author of, Avian Illuminations: A Cultural History of Birds

Genial, readable, warm-hearted and on nature's side

Richard Mabey

Woolfson specialises in [...] demonstrating how little most people understand about creatures they think ordinary... her writing flows beautifully

Diana Athill

The Author

Esther Woolfson grew up in Glasgow and studied Chinese at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Edinburgh University. Her acclaimed short stories have appeared in many anthologies and have been read on Radio 4. She is the author of Corvus: A Life with Birds, published by Granta Books. She has won prizes for both her stories and her nature writing. She has been the recipient of a Scottish Arts Council Travel Grant and a Writer’s Bursary. Her latest book, Field Notes from a Hidden City (Granta Books), was shortlisted for the 2014 Thwaites Wainwright Prize for Nature and Travel Writing. She lives in Aberdeen.

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From the Same Author

Esther Woolfson on

Essays & Memoir | Granta 151

Between Light and Storm

Esther Woolfson

‘We’ve always been entwined in life and in death with other creatures, although often too much time has elapsed to be able to interpret with any certainty what some of these symbols and artefacts mean.’

Essays & Memoir | Granta 142


Esther Woolfson

‘His life was one of calculation and endeavour, of learning and watching, remembering and trying.’