Though not generally perceived as graceful, crows are remarkably so—a single curve undulates from the tip of the bird’s beak to the end of its tail. They take flight almost without effort, flapping their wings easily and ascending into the air like spirits. Crow by Boria Sax is a celebration of the crow and its relatives in myth, literature, and life.
Sax takes readers into the history of crows, detailing how in a range of cultures, from the Chinese to the Hopi Indians, crows are bearers of prophecy. For example, thanks in part to the birds’ courtship rituals, Greeks invoked crows as symbols of conjugal love. From the raven sent out by Noah to the corvid deities of the Eskimo, from Taoist legends to Victorian novels and contemporary films, Sax’s book ranges across history and culture and will interest anyone who has ever been intrigued, puzzled, annoyed, or charmed by these wonderfully intelligent birds.
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Since childhood, I would turn to look when I heard the call of a crow, even if I was in the middle of the street. This could make people turn their heads to look at me. They may have thought me strange, but it seems odd to me that people notice crows so little, especially since crows are so dramatic and exuberant. In times of crisis people start to notice, and crows are bearers of prophesy, not only for traditional peoples such as Eskimos, Greeks, and Celts, but even for such a pragmatist as Napoleon. I doubt that we will ever understand crows, but perhaps, next time I look at a crow, more people will understand me. Boria Sax, AuthorAbout the Author:
Boria Sax teaches at Sing Sing prison and online for the graduate program in literature at Mercy College. He is the author of many books, including Imaginary Animals, also published by Reaktion Books.
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