Finalist: Becoming Animal, by David Abram

Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology
by David Abram (Pantheon Books)

Cultural ecologist, philosopher, and visionary David Abram can hear “ten thousand snowflakes as they meet the ground” and lets that music remind us that we are “more than mind.” Becoming Animal offers a gateway to “sensorial empathy with the living land that sustains us.” With prose as lush as a moss-draped rain forest and as luminous as a high desert night, David Abram reminds us of what we already know, but have allowed the artifices of technology and over-reliance on abstract intelligence to dull: We are each of us gifted with animal senses that languish without exercise, and that can excite and nourish our spiritual and sensual engagement with the world. Deeply resonant with indigenous ways of knowing, Becoming Animal reminds us of the porosity of the boundary between ourselves and the more than human world. Abram lets us listen in on wordless conversations with ancient boulders, walruses, birds, and roof beams. His profound recognition of intelligences other than our own enables us to enter into reciprocal symbioses that can in turn, sustain the world. Becoming Animal illuminates a way forward in restoring relationship with the earth, led by our vibrant animal beings to re-inhabit the glittering world.

—Robin Wall Kimmerer, Selection Committee

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