The Elephants of the North and Other Acquaintances
A friend’s claim that everybody enjoys watching wild animals in captivity provided the kindling for Tove Nilsen’s furious and wise stories about animals. Nilsen writes about her first encounters with them as a child, such as the squirrel monkey in the apartment building next door and the magpie she tamed; the “Nordic Ark”, a floating zoo that exhibited both tigers and Sami people; and the time she herself was pushed into captivity in frightening, skinny Mrs Mogens’s cabinet.
In beautiful, sensitive prose, Tove Nilsen charts the relationships between humans and animals. The stories are filled with the joy that comes from meeting animals, but underneath is the despair she feels in the face of man’s urge to subjugate other beings.