Set during the Alaskan gold rush of 1897, Jack London’s classic adventure story will captivate new readers, while those who first encountered The Call of the Wild as children will find re-reading it richly rewarding. The story is moving, its themes powerful and elemental: the thin line that divides civilisation from nature, the relationship between humans and animals, and the true meaning of strength, both mental and physical. It is also a great adventure story; a classic American tale of a drifter and survivor. For this unique collector’s edition, best-selling author David Vann has contributed a fascinating introduction, while Abigail Rorer’s illustrations are evocative of the frozen Yukon.
Bound in cloth blocked with a design by Abigail Rorer
Set in Perpetua
Frontispiece and 7 black & white illustrations
9˝ x 6¼˝
David Vann spent his childhood in Alaska, and knows the landscape intimately. His own best-selling and award-winning Legend of a Suicide is set in the Alaskan wilderness and he trawls his rich cache of memories for his exclusive introduction to this edition. The beautiful setting provides the canvas for a story filled with camaraderie and brutality, and Abigail Rorer’s startling black-and-white woodcuts perfectly capture the harsh landscape, her eight illustrations portraying the grim reality of life for prospectors and animals alike, while a poignant portrait of John Thornton with his rescued dog Buck shows the depth of their bond.
During the Yukon Gold Rush, an estimated 100,000 people migrated to the region in the hope of striking it rich. While humans did the prospecting, dogs were needed to pull sleighs, and Buck is perfectly suited to the work and conditions. A large cross-breed, he lives a pampered life in California until he is kidnapped and sold to workers in the Yukon, where he is frequently beaten and forced to drag backbreaking loads. After one particularly brutal attack leaves Buck close to death, he is rescued by prospector John Thornton. Buck repays him with absolute loyalty and devotion and goes on to become the most famous pack dog in Alaska. But when their bond is broken, Buck escapes the world of humans and fulfils his destiny to become a leader of wolves. Jack London himself took part in the Yukon Gold Rush in 1903, aged just 21, and three years later The Call of the Wild was published to immediate acclaim. London’s writing would prove to be a great influence on authors such as Jack Kerouac and George Orwell, directly inspiring Kerouac’s On the Road.
Born in San Francisco in 1876, Jack Griffith London attended grammar school and briefly studied English at university before dropping out to follow his wanderlust. In 1897, London travelled to Alaska and became part of the Klondike Gold Rush. He didn’t find his fortune but he did find plenty of inspiration for his writing. His best-known novel was The Call of the Wild (1903; Folio 2011, 2022); others included The Sea Wolf (1904) and White Fang (1906). Amongst his non-fiction works are People of the Abyss (1903) and John Barleycorn (1913). Jack London commited suicide in 1916 aged just 40 years old.
Abigail Rorer attended the Rhode Island School of Design, focussing her studies on etching and lithography. She began her career by teaching art before leaving to concentrate on her own work. Rorer worked in pen and ink before learning the art of wood engraving. In 1989, Rorer established The Lone Oak Press in Petersham, Massachusetts, which specialises in letterpress and limited edition books illustrated with her engravings and etchings.
David Vann was born in 1966 on Adak Island in the Aleutian Islands and spent his childhood in Alaska. A novelist and short story writer, Vann is also professor of creative writing at the University of Warwick, England. His novel Legend of a Suicide (2011) has been published in 21 languages, won numerous awards and is an international bestseller. Other works include Caribou Island (2011), Goat Mountain (2013) and Halibut on the Moon (2019).
Cormac McCarthy’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Road is presented as a Folio collector’s edition, with artist Gérard DuBois’s beautiful and desolate illustrations and Michael Chabon’s New York Review of Books essay. Winner of the Moira Gemmill Illustrator of the Year Prize at the V&A Illustration Awards 2022.
Full of sweat, tears and side-splitting humour, Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods is a page-turning travelogue and this Folio Society edition is the ultimate companion for fans of the author’s inimitable wit.