Boyd Varty had an unconventional upbringing. He grew up on Londolozi Game Reserve in South Africa, a place where man and nature strive for balance, where perils exist alongside wonders. Founded more than 80 years ago as a hunting ground, Londolozi was transformed into a nature reserve beginning in 1973 by Varty’s father and uncle, visionaries of the restoration movement. But it wasn’t just a sanctuary for the animals; it was also a place for ravaged land to flourish again and for the human spirit to be restored. When Nelson Mandela was released after 27 years of imprisonment, he came to the reserve to recover.
Cathedral of the Wild is Varty’s memoir of his life in this exquisite and vast refuge. At Londolozi, Varty gained the confidence that emerges from living in Africa. "We came out strong and largely unafraid of life," he writes, "with the full knowledge of its dangers." It was there that young Boyd and his equally adventurous sister learned to track animals, raised leopard and lion cubs, followed their larger-than-life uncle on his many adventures filming wildlife, and became one with the land. Varty survived a harrowing black mamba encounter, a debilitating bout with malaria, even a vicious crocodile attack, but his biggest challenge was a personal crisis of purpose. An intense spiritual quest takes him across the globe and back again - to reconnect with nature and "rediscover the track".
Cathedral of the Wild is a story of transformation that inspires a great appreciation for the beauty and order of the natural world. With conviction, hope, and humor, Varty makes a passionate claim for the power of the wild to restore the human spirit.
©2014 Boyd Varty (P)2014 Random House Audio
"This is a gorgeous, lyrical, hilarious, important book. Boyd Varty is as brilliant a storyteller and as kind a companion as you’ll ever meet. He describes a life that has been spent forging a new way of thinking and being, in harmony with both Nature writ large and the human nature that is you. Read this and you may find yourself instinctively beginning to heal old wounds: in yourself, in others, and just maybe in the cathedral of the wild that is our true home." (Martha Beck, author of Finding Your Own North Star)
"Cathedral of the Wild is the captivating story of the joyful, occasionally terrifying, but always interesting life of Boyd Varty. It is also a tale of healing, and of one family’s passion to restore our broken connection to nature. Be prepared to fall in love with Varty, his sister, his parents, his uncle, the ideals they fiercely hold to protect the African bush, and the wild animals and people that surround them. With his campfire wit and poet’s ear, Varty is a wonderful new voice in adventure writing." (Susan Casey, author of The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean)
"[An] intense, insightful memoir that brings together several wise observations about the relationship between nature and humanity.... Varty faces his own trials...leading to a spiritual renewal that elevates this memoir above the usual wilderness narrative." (Publishers Weekly)
Don't like to be brutally critical, but I found this story to be a self absorbed ramble by someone with a child like perspective. Maybe my impression of the this story is so poor because I just finished listening to The Elephant Whisperer and was hoping this book would be similar, when in fact this book is the antithesis of that book. I was only able to get through first five chapters, which consisted of childish flowery stories about uninteresting events. The only encounters with wildlife that were described was one in which animals were either feared or killed. If you're looking for a book that presents an enlightened perspective on Africa, its people, and the other animals that live their, listen to The Elephant Whisper, stay away from this book.
I absolutely loved this story and hope there will be future tales from Boyd Varty. He tells a great story that opened my beliefs on mysticism and the animal world. He brings you to Africa and the dangers and wonders of Africa's animals. I appreciate all he and his family are doing to help protect the animals of Africa. Long live his reserve and all animals of Africa!
Boyd Varty tells the tale of building a thriving game preserve in South Africa, on land previously destroyed by farming. The story is tough, tender and restores its listeners. I feel closer to nature now as well as my own true nature. Thank you Boyd!
Psychological, ecological, spiritual, and pure artistry of words in personal and family storytelling of a story that could help save our earth.....
This is the story not only of a boy's adventures in the African bushveld, or his extraordinary family, but one of suffering through life's trials to return home to himself; his true nature. This book is also a beautifully written guide to whatever journey the reader is on. Filled with humor, wit, and musically written prose, this story made me laugh out loud and cry like a child. Boyd Varty's generous and loving soul shines through every sentence. I look forward to visiting Londolozi to experience firsthand the land, the animals, and the remarkable family who've worked relentlessly to save them.
An amazing and breathtaking journey told in the charming voice of its author. I gasped, laughed, cried, and pondered right along with Boyd. Loved it!
I enjoyed every chapter of this book. Descriptions of the settings, people and animals were well detailed and make me truly feel like I was there. This a fabulous book about a family I'd quite enjoy knowing in person.
This is an extraordinary story of a family's journey and profound commitment to connecting us to our inherent one with nature. Also wildly entertaining adventure tale. Varty's reading is a bit flat but since it is deeply his own story it works that it is his voice.
Fascinating to listen to a man's story growing up in a very different world. But still, themes of the human condition resonate with me. Adventure and chaos that is uniquely Africa. Thanks Boyd for sharing your life.
this book touched me emotionally so very deeply. my family comes from SA and though I've never lived there, it calls to me more than any other place in the world. As a young wildlife conservation biologist, this book gives me hope for my future career and for the world and wonderful animals in it. I hope one day to be fortunate enough to travel to Londolozi and see the game reserve for myself...
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