Tuesday, August 25, 2015

"The Wolf Wilder"

Katherine Rundell is the author of Rooftoppers, Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms (a Boston Globe–Horn Book Award winner), and The Wolf Wilder. She grew up in Zimbabwe, Brussels, and London, and is currently a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. She begins each day with a cartwheel and believes that reading is almost exactly the same as cartwheeling: it turns the world upside down and leaves you breathless. In her spare time, she enjoys walking on tightropes and trespassing on the rooftops of Oxford colleges.

Rundell applied the Page 69 Test to The Wolf Wilder and reported the following:
From page 69:
Feo wasn’t sure what to say. The boy wasn’t looking at her. He was looking at the pup, who was accidentally tasting snow for the first time. The pup sneezed: tiny, doll-sized sneezes.

She said, ‘I’m Feo, actually. Not Feodora.’

‘Feo. Can I touch it, Feo?’

‘Him. He’s a boy. It’s really up to Tenderfoot, not me.’

But Ilya’s face was so hopeful it hurt her chest to look at him, and she shrugged.

‘If you make sure she can always see your hands, she won’t bite. They get nervous when they can’t see both your hands.’

He quivered from boots to cap as he stroked the wolf. Feo watched him. His eyelashes were so blond they were almost invisible, and they were covered in snow. There was a scar on one eyelid.
The Wolf Wilder is about bravery, and about love and, most of all, about wolves, so page 69 is pretty representative: it describes the birth of a newborn wolf pup. Feodora lives alone with her mother in the Russian wilderness, and when the world intrudes on their peace in the form of the Imperial Army and a General with a vendetta against them, she has to decide who to trust, and learn how to make her way in the world alone. I wanted the book to be about where bravery comes from, and about the animal core in all of us, and why it might be worth in always staying a little wild. I spent some time with wolves in researching the book, and they're electric - they have muscles like no other creature I've encountered, and, as it says in the book - they're beautiful, unpredictable creatures: the witches of the animal world.
Visit Katherine Rundell's Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue