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The Book of the Dun Cow Paperback – August 14, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Walter Wangerin Jr. is the National Book Award-winning author of The Book of the Dun Cow. His other books include The Book of God, Ragman and Other Cries of Faith, and Miz Lil and the Chronicles of Grace.

From AudioFile

WangerinÕs allegory of good and evil pits Chauntecleer, the mighty rooster, against the nefarious and serpentine Wyrm. In a time before humans, Chauntecleer is the only one who stands in the way of Wyrm as it breaks free from its earthly prison and enacts its devious influence upon the innocent animals of the world. WangerinÕs prose proves enjoyable despite a heavy-handed religious overtone. Paul Michael enlivens the text with a deep, robust voice that keeps a good pace. He does justice to the verbose and powerful persona of Chauntecleer. However, inexplicably, he adds a Southern twang to many of the charactersÕ speaking parts, which does not seem to be justified by the text. L.E. © AudioFile 2008, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; 25 Anv edition (August 14, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060574607
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060574604
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,064 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Walter Wangerin Jr. is widely recognized as one of the most gifted writers writing today on the issues of faith and spirituality. Starting with the renowned Book of the Dun Cow, Wangerin's writing career has encompassed most every genre: fiction, essay, short story, children's story, meditation, and biblical exposition. His writing voice is immediately recognizable, and his fans number in the millions. The author of over forty books, Wangerin has won the National Book Award, New York Times Best Children's Book of the Year Award, and several Gold Medallions, including best-fiction awards for both The Book of God and Paul: A Novel. He lives in Valparaiso, Indiana, where he is Senior Research Professor at Valparaiso University.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

76 of 80 people found the following review helpful By Aranion on December 13, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wangerin has written a book that begs to be read aloud, but is a joy to read to yourself as well. His use of language is breathtaking -- evoking both a classic fairy tale and stylized character study. Do NOT let the fact that the main characters are talking animals throw you.
TBODC is fable about Chauntacleer the Rooster, his Coop (and the surrounding lands), and their battle against a monstrous, mythic evil. Both intimate and epic, the story of the animals' battle are filled with heartrending sadness and soulcleansing joy.
I would hard-pressed to label or categorize this book. Many have called it an allegory, and there ARE allegorical elements to it, but it is much more (or much different) from straight allegory. I consider myself a reasonably intelligent person, and a skilled reader, but Wangerin layers his story with meanings and submeanings, many of which I am sure escaped me. I didn't care, though. The wonderful language and emotion of the story immersed me into Chauntacleer's world, and I could marvel at the depth without knowing exactly HOW deep it went.
If you're searching for a new fable that feels familiar but not predictable, one you can treaure and read aloud to friends and family, The Book of the Dun Cow is for you.
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By on May 25, 1999
Format: Paperback
When I was 9 years old, my father read this book to me. It stayed with me. I am now 30 and after re-reading Watership Down last month I was reminded of this book, and of how good it was. Last weekend, I spent three days reading it to my new bride. We both cried. There are some people who chose to read this novel as some kind of radical religious parable. Those people are missing the point. It is a pure story of how everyone, everyday, fights against the urge to be the worst they could be; and how sometimes, with the right circumstance they become the best they can be. Without this hope, we are all alone and simply, ""marooned.''
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful By JoT on February 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
Before my review of the rest of the book I would like to spend a paragraph in praise of my favorite character from the book. Mundo Cani, if you are a dog person, will evoke such emotion from you that you will fall in love with him within bare lines. If you are not a dog person, and, in fact, hate all dogs, it might take as much as a few pages for you to fully enjoy and care for this humble and self-sacrificing character. Mundo Cani is worth the price of the book all by himself, and the depth of the other characters that play their parts in this beautiful story will simply spoil you for the flat and tasteless fare that many of us sometimes find we have accidentally become accustomed to.

As a reader, I regretfully admit, I am fairly easy to please. However, I am happy to amend that quality with a very critical nature when it comes to comparing newer or lesser-known writings with my established favorites among classics. Very few works, in my opinion, can stand rank file with the best of, to name a few, Lewis, Tolkien, and Peake. If anyone had told me before I read this Book of the Dun Cow, that it should surpass Watership Down, that I should stand in awe of a cow the way I stood for Galadriel, that I should fear maggots and a simple cockatrice more than any foul thing born in the darks of Mordor, that my mind should be as stirred by prose concerning a chicken coop as it was by the darkly beautiful language that told of the Castle Gormenghast, and that this same story should be imbued with meaning so as to rival or even surpass the great works of C.S. Lewis, I would have spit on their forehead, laughed in their face, and made a crude reference concerning a deficiency in their genetic background.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Larry L. Looney on April 11, 2003
Format: Paperback
The blurbs on the cover, and inside, compare this novel to Orwell's ANIMAL FARM, Tolkien's LORD OF THE RINGS and Adams' WATERSHIP DOWN - all of which are apt. The difference between this and Orwell's book - the most obvious jumping-off place of reference, with animals as characters - is, as another reviewer so correctly pointes out below, Wangerin has added the elements of spirituality and faith to the mix. I'm reminded on many of the works I've read by Frederick Buechner - although he uses human beings as his characters, I see many parallels between the gently gripping writing styles employed by Buechner and Wangerin.
Even though all of the characters in this novel are animals, the reader should be able to identify and empathize with them easily. The author has imbued them with the qualities one would expect to find in novels of the fantasy/adventure genre - they are brave and heroic and pure-hearted. Well, for the most part - what makes these characters most compelling is not their shining virtues (although there are many), but rather their `warts', their shortcomings, their thoughts and actions that are somewhat less than heroic, sometimes downright selfish and dishonorable and despicable. The inspiration lies in the fact that through their faith, and through the goodness that lies at the core of all creatures' hearts, they overcome these obstacles and manage to BE heroic when they are afraid, find the faith to BELIEVE their cause is just and that they have a chance to triumph, find the good within themselves to put aside the more petty instincts and simply DO THE RIGHT THING.
The story is a gripping one - a classic case of the ultimate battle between the forces of Good and Evil.
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