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The Book of the Dun Cow by Walter Jr.…

The Book of the Dun Cow (1978)

by Walter Wangerin Jr.

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Book of the Dun Cow (1)

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1,120187,356 (3.9)20

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The blurb from the Los Angeles Times says Belongs on the shelf with Animal Farm, Watership Down, and The Lord of the Rings." ?It does not say you'll be as moved by it as you were by those. ?áI agree on both counts. ?áI thought this a brilliant and exciting fable. ?áMuch was a little obvious, some was a little metaphysical. ?áGod is mentioned by name, but really any Higher Power would serve as details don't seem to be present, or, if they are, they're in the symbolism, which is easy for an atheist like me to overlook (just as I do when I read Narnia).

No, this won't serve every reader. ?áBut everyone over the age of nine or so who likes animal fantasy should consider reading it. ?áSome, like me, will want to reread it. ?á

One thing that I never noticed in descriptions or other reviews was mention of the humor. ?áIt's wonderful: some is more subtle, some more cruel, and some is just slapstick. ?áFor?áan?áexample of the easier sort, some of the turkeys, we learn, are named Corningware, Paprika, and Basil.

There are also beautiful bits. ?áA wedding is held in the winter, and for gifts, the other animals tramp down words and pictures (a la' corn mazes). ?áHow apt, for animals, who don't have possessions....

An under-appreciated book. ?áLook for it. ?áMeanwhile, I will look for others by the author." ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
A gigantic fable about power and corruption. Somewhat Biblical in tone, it is also a book about hanging in there in the face of utter terror. ( )
1 vote dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
A truly unique book. The Book of the Dun Cow is a religious allegorical fable about Chaunticleer the rooster, who has been assigned my God the duty of protecting the Earth from Wyrm, a great evil which is trapped within the Earth. But Wyrm has found a way out, and Chaunticleer, along his fellow animals must wage a great war to keep the evil contained. ( )
1 vote fingerpost | Dec 18, 2015 |
I had never before heard of THE BOOK OF THE DUN COW, by Walter Wangerin Jr., until a local book group chose it for their next read. This is good, in a way, because I had no expectations. A National Book Award winner in 1980, the story completely involves animals that talk and not a human being in sight.
Chauntecleer the Rooster rules a peaceful yard. While hens produce eggs, John Wesley Weasel gets accused of eating them, Ebenezer Rat is attacked, and Mundo Cani the Dog, Wee Widow Mouse and Pertelote the Hen come into the yard.
THE BOOK OF THE DUN COW reads as a fable, with good fighting against evil. Although Wangerin claims it is not allegorical, one can’t help but want to pick it apart. There are lots of references to “light” and “dark”. I’m not sure I want to analyze it, because the reading of it is such a grand experience.
This book is fabulous; the characters so well written that you feel like you know them. I think anyone would enjoy THE BOOK OF THE DUN COW. It is now one of my all-time favorite books!
( )
1 vote BooksOn23rd | Nov 25, 2015 |
In this moving fable of Good versus Evil by author Walter Wangerin, it is a time when the sun still revolves around the earth and animals can talk. Lord Chauntecleer, a rooster, presides over his coop and all the animals around including Mundo Cani, a rather depressed dog and John Wesley Weasel. Do not, however, mistake them for the cute and cuddly talking creatures which populate Disney stories. Wangerin's animals have more in common with the animals found in Aesop's Fables and Medieval Bestiaries than those found in the Magic kingdom. They are noble, brave, and kind but they are also prideful, selfish, and silly and God has placed them on this earth for a purpose. Without knowing it, they are the keepers of Wyrm, the most evil creature in all creation, damned by God to reside at the centre of the earth - sum wyrm, sub terra - and he has been trying since before time to break free. Now, with the unwitting aid of Senex, the old and foolish ruler of another coop, Wyrm has found his opportunity to leave his hell and bring sorrow and chaos to the universe. It is up to the animals of Chauntecleer's coop, this Kingdom of the Meek, to defeat him and his minions, with little but their faith to sustain them.

First published in 1978, The Book of the Dun Cow won the National Book Award for Science Fiction. Loosely based on The Nun's Priest's Tale in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales with a title taken from the oldest extant Celtic manuscript, Book of the Dun Cow (c. 1100), it has been compared to books such as Animal Farm, Watership Down, and CS Lewis' Narnia series.

There are very strong religious overtones to the story, not surprising since Wangerin was a Lutheran minister. Still, this does not overshadow the story; rather, with its rich use of symbolism, it enhances it. The writing style has a simple elegance rarely found in modern books which, combined with the strength of its Christian themes, may put off many readers. And that would be a shame. It is the kind of book that requires a bit of thought beyond the usual willing suspension of disbelief to be fully appreciated. But, like the books it has been compared to, it s well worth the effort. ( )
1 vote lostinalibrary | Jul 27, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
Read it for fun, and imagine Arnold Schwarzenegger speaking these lines, à la his Conan the Barbarian days.

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Wangerin Jr., Walterprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Juva, KerstiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marsh, JamesCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Tabitha, Mary, Matthew, and Joseph appear in this story, each a separate character. And Thanne is here, too--both the woman and her quiet love. To these this book is dedicated.
First words
In the middle of the night somebody began to cry outside of Chauntecleer's Coop.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060574607, Paperback)

Walter Wangerin's profound fantasy concerns a time when the sun turned around the earth and the animals could speak, when Chauntecleer the Rooster ruled over a more or less peaceful kingdom. What the animals did not know was that they were the Keepers of Wyrm, monster of evil long imprisoned beneath the earth ... and Wyrm, sub terra, was breaking free.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:48 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Good struggles with Evil as Chauntecleer the rooster fights against the mysterious Wyrm.

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Average: (3.9)
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