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Gentle and Fierce

Vanessa Berry

Having spent her life in city environments, Vanessa Berry’s experiences with animals have largely been through encounters in urban settings, representations in art and the media, and as decorative ornaments or kitsch. The essays in Gentle and Fierce suggest that these encounters provide meaningful connections, at a time when the world we share with animals is threatened by environmental destruction. Berry responds with attentiveness and empathy to her subjects, which include a stuffed Kodiak bear, a Japanese island overrun with rabbits, a porcelain otter and Georges Perec’s cat. The essays are accompanied by illustrations which reflect her eye for detail and her background as an artist and zine maker.


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