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Pets : art of living

Fudge, Erica (2008) Pets : art of living. Acumen Press, Stocksfield. ISBN 9781844651566

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Abstract

Why do we live with pets? Is there something more to our relationship with them than simply companionship? What is it we look for in our pets and what does this say about us as human beings? In this fascinating book, Erica Fudge explores the nature of this most complex of relationships and the difficulties of knowing what it is that one is living with when one chooses to share a home with an animal. Fudge argues that our capacity for compassion and ability to live alongside others is evident in our relationships with our pets, those paradoxical creatures who give us a sense of comfort and security while simultaneously troubling the categories human and animal. For what is a pet if it isn t a fully-fledged member of the human family? This book proposes that by crossing over these boundaries pets help construct who it is we think we are. Drawing on the works of modern writers, such as J. M. Coetzee, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas and Jacques Derrida, Fudge shows how pets have been used to think with and to undermine our easy conceptions of human, animal and home. Indeed, the book shows our obsession with domestic animals reveals many of the paradoxes, contradictions and ambiguities of life. Living with pets provides thought-provoking perspectives on our notions of possession and mastery, mutuality and cohabitation, love and dominance. We might think of pets as simply happy, loved additions to human homes but as this captivating book reveals perhaps it is the pets that make the home and without pets perhaps we might not be the humans we think we are. For anyone who has ever wondered what their cat is thinking, it will be illuminating reading