Arts & Leisure

Book review: Once There Were Wolves — by Charlotte McConaghy

(Flatiron Books)

Inti Flynn, biologist — impulsive, idealistic yet deeply knowledgeable and passionate about reintroducing wolves as a way of rewilding environments and thus combating climate change — cannot bear the possibility of their decimation as a species. In fact, the depth of her empathy knows no bounds; Inti feels sensations of touch that mirror what she sees, a condition known as mirror touch synesthesia. When a person, or any creature is touched, in a nurturing or hurting way, and she observes it, she can feel it. For this new assignment, reintroducing gray wolves to the Cairngorms wilderness of Scotland, she’s running the show, but she also needed to bring her twin sister, Aggie, with her, unbeknownst to the rest of her crew. Family, what it is and what it means, climate fiction, a murder mystery, nature writing — all these elements are combined by the hugely accomplished hand of the author with each facet equally enthralling and engrossing. This novel crackles with creative energy and heart, from the ever-apparent and fierce passion of Inti Flynn, to the breathtaking depictions of wolves in their natural state of being, to the carefully-crafted sentences that hum with as-of-yet unknown internal knowledge, to the original conception of bringing these various elements — familial bonds, environmental fiction, thriller — together to tell a beautiful story. 

— Reviewed by Jenny Lyons of The Vermont Book Shop in Middlebury.


7 Sizzling Literary Sisters 

Afterlife, by Julia Alvarez

Silver Sparrow, by Tayari Jones

Something Wild, by Hanna Halperin

The Vanishing Half, by Brit Bennett

Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi

Half of a Yellow Sun, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah

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