Jack London's masterpiece tells the gripping tale of a dog named Buck who is wrenched out of his life of ease and luxury to become a sled dog in Alaska. Drawing on his wolf heritage, Buck must fight for survival in an alien environment.
Public Domain (P)2013 Trout Lake Media
This classic story is told in 3rd person through the POV of Buck, a Saint Bernard / Scotch Shepherd mix. When the story opens, Buck is "living the life of a sated aristocrat" in Southern California, 1897. Suddenly stolen from his home by a treacherous servant, Buck is forced to pull sleds in Alaska during the Klondike Strike.
Peter Husmann masterfully gave voice to Buck's thoughts and feelings. He portrayed Buck's keen intelligence as he strove to quickly learn the sledding ropes, the laws of survival (how does a dog sleep in the snow?), becoming lead dog in the team, taking on the vicious Spitz. I could feel Buck's determination and -- later -- his numb exhaustion and despair as he was nearly driven to an exhausted end by The Hateful Hal.
Husmann clearly portrayed the joy and love Buck felt for his beloved John Thornton, and the fun of romping around with John's dogs: Skeet the Irish Setter and Nig the black deer hound.
Most Memorable Scenes:
Buck's suffering, especially at the hands of abusive Hal, Charles, and Mercedes.
His utter devotion to John Thornton, never letting him out of his sight.
The whitewater rapids scene.
The Bet. Pull 1000 pounds 100 yards to win $1600 for JT.
Hunting and killing an injured moose buck. (Not my favorite scene, but vivid.)
Be warned: The ending is not sugar coated.
I came to this after listening to a Radio 4 production of London's "The Sea Wolf" and, if I'm honest, because it turned up cheap.
Technically the recording isn't as clean as some others, but this really just adds to the vintage atmosphere.
There's a lot going on, many villains, a few heroes, and a lot of exposition from the dog's point of view.
If you're a dog lover, you'll have your dander up in a few places, but it's no spoiler to say that things will be settled to your satisfaction. As story that has a lot of period detail and vocabulary (obviously) but it doesn't feel dated.
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