“Love, genuine passionate love, was his for the first time. This he had never experienced at Judge Miller’s down in the sun-kissed Santa Clara Valley. With the Judge’s sons, hunting and tramping, it had been a working partnership; with the Judge’s grandsons, a sort of pompous guardianship; and with the Judge himself, a stately and dignified friendship. But love that was feverish and burning, that was adoration, that was madness, it had taken John Thornton to arouse.”
A wonderful tale of a remarkable dog who is snatched from a soft, idyllic lifestyle in the South and exposed to the twin cruelties of Man and the frozen Northlands during the Yukon Gold Rush.
Buck undergoes a transformation from a family pet to an iron-hard pack dog in a tale of grand adventure, danger, hardship and finally love. Jack London is one of the very few authors who can successfully make you experience the story from an animal point of view, even though the story is told from a third person perspective. The descriptive language transports the reader to the frigid North – I defy anyone reading this book to not find themselves imagining in great detail a snowpacked route through towering, frost encrusted pine forests and great, ice locked lakes. If London did any better a job the reader would be experiencing frost bite!
Buck must overcome being forced into a lifestyle not of his choosing and survive not only the cruelty of the ice but also the scant rations he is provided, the hard task of pulling the sled and the jealousy and aggressiveness of his fellow sled dogs.
The Call of the Wild the title refers to is felt keenly by Buck towards the end as he becomes more and more hardened and less domesticated but even though he answers the call and runs for a time with the wild wolf he meets, upon realising that he’s on a one way journey he turns back to the man who saved his life out of love.
Unfortunately Bucks beloved master meets an untimely end not long afterwards and so he is finally free to answer ‘The Call’, becoming a feature of the wild nature rather than the realm of Man.
“The blood longing became stronger than ever before. He was a killer, a thing that preyed, living on the things that lived, unaided, alone, by virtue of his own strength and prowess, surviving triumphantly in a hostile environment where only the strong survived.”