Between Light and Storm | Granta

  • Published: 02/09/2021
  • ISBN: 9781783782802
  • 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.

Elegiac, haunting and piercingly intelligent, Esther Woolfson's exploration of our relationship with other species is sometimes painful to read but her articulacy and lightness of touch, and her own beautifully observed experiences, are a joy. A profoundly moving and important book

Isabella Tree

A powerful, poignant, and urgently important reflection on our relations with the non-human world. Immaculately researched and compulsively readable

Charles Foster, author of, Being a Beast

We live in a time in which our disrespect for nature is coming back to bite us. Timely and wide-ranging, Esther Woolfson's book offers sensitive reflections on how we relate to the animals around us as well as the animal within

Frans de Waal

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.’