As interest in environmental issues grows, many writers of fiction have embraced themes that explore the connections between humans and the natural world. Ecologically themed fiction ranges from profound philosophical meditations to action-packed entertainments. Where the Wild Books Are offers an overview of nearly 2,000 works of nature-oriented fiction. The author includes a discussion of the precursors and history of the genre, and of its expansion since the 1970s. He also considers its forms and themes, as well as the subgenres into which it has evolved, such as speculative fiction, ecodefense, animal stories, mysteries, ecofeminist novels, cautionary tales, and others. A brief summary and critical commentary of each title is included. Dwyer’s scope is broad and covers fiction by Native American writers as well as ecofiction from writers around the world. Far more than a mere listing of books, Where the Wild Books Are is a lively introduction to a vast universe of engaging, provocative writing. It can be used to develop book collections or curricula. It also serves as an introduction to one of the most fertile areas of contemporary fiction, presenting books that will offer enjoyable reading and new insights into the vexing environmental questions of our time.
“There is not and will not be anything else like this book on the market, and no one will attempt to imitate it, given its range and scope. It will prove an invaluable reference book, not only for libraries to own but also for serious ecocritics working with English-language texts around the world.” -- Patrick D. Murphy, author of Farther Afield in the Study of Nature-Oriented Literature
“Dwyer’s suggestive, provocative ‘field guide’ does exactly what one would expect from such a work—it makes us want to read more, to read the actual literary texts. With prompts and prods—rather than traditional analysis and arguments—Where the Wild Books Are inspires readers to explore the work of authors they may never have encountered before and to consider new dimensions of environmental literature. The book is rich with advice.” -- Scott Slovic, author of Going Away to Think: Engagement, Retreat, and Ecocritical Responsibility
“Jim Dwyer’s book is proof positive that fiction is stranger and often more interesting than facts. This is a must-have item for any eco-reference collection.” -- Fred Stoss, chair of the Task Force on the Environment, American Library Association
"Dwyer's Where the Wilds Books Are offers a veritable cornucopia of literary fruit to satisfy any reader's narrative palate." - The Goose
"It is a pleasure and a challenge to go through this field guide, finding old friends, and above all, many new suggestions for reading." - The Journal of Ecocriticism
"This work will be an invaluable reference for those interested in the emerging study of ecological and environmental themes in literature." -- Reference Reviews
"Dwyer has performed an invaluable service with his Field Guide, and anyone seriously interested in green literature will need to keep it handy on a reference shelf." -- Western American Literature