Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Philosopher and the Malamute

Hardback cover Paperback cover

Earlier this year I read The Philosopher and the Wolf, a marvellous philosophical memoir by Mark Rowlands recounting his experiences over 11 years with his lupine companion Brenin.

Brenin was close in size to Bondi, although with more Munson's colouring and there are some spooky similarities between the travels of Bondi and Brenin, although they were a decade apart. Both animals were found by their humans in the United States in a very unplanned way and taken back to their human's own countries and visited Ireland and France. While Brenin didn't travel as widely as Bondi they visited the same specific places around Cork in Ireland and Pembrokeshire in Wales.

Mark Rowlands and Alan Saunders

Today Mark was making the second of two appearances at Sydney Writers' Festival, being interviewed by ABC broadcaster Alan Saunders. I believe it will go to air soon, probably on the weekly program The Philosopher's Zone. I'll add a podcast link when this becomes available. [ Aug 1 update: streaming available here. A download link will probably show on this page before long.]

I wrote to Mark a few weeks ago hoping to make contact with him at the festival and to introduce Bondi. Sadly this introduction wasn't to be, but Mark did recognise me at the signing desk and got to meet Munson outside on the sunny deck of the Heritage Pier.

This has re-energised me to get back into writing Bondi's story, a project which has had to take a back seat over the last two months. In the meantime, I highly recommend reading about Brenin's life - Mark has a very different tale to tell about his wolf friend and intertwines it with insights on the differences between wolf society and ape/human society.

Munson by Sydney Harbour Bridge

Mark Rowlands & Munson

Postscript: Mark mentioned us in his blog:


  1. Tank woo fur sharing that!

    I'll put it on Mom's reading list...

    Tank woo fur sharing the handsome pikhs of Munson!

    PeeEssWoo: I'll paw 'your book' onto the list as well!

  2. He was also interviewed live to air by Richard Fidler

    It was compelling stuff.

  3. That would be a great book for mom to read cuz she is absolutely crazy about wolves!

    Well, and us too of course!

    Munson is so handsome ! And, he has grown to be quite a big boy!


  4. Hey Mike.

    I expect you'd find Chris Clarke's "Walking with Zeke" inspiring and maybe useful. It's a book that grew from his now-retired blog "Creek Running North" ... He's a California-based naturalist.

    It was great to see you at my self-inflicted birthday party. I wonder how you're doing.

    Cheers, Jarrett