The Book of the Dun Cow by Walter Wangerin Jr.

I’ve seen this book in the library, and I’ve occasionally picked it up, but I’ve never checked it out.


It was published in 1978, and I think that’s clear from the cover. I also somehow thought it looked like a children’s book. So I never picked it up.

Then the book was on the Top 100 list I’m working my way through. I still bypassed the novel at the library. When my husband bought it for me (I’d added my top several from the list to the Amazon wishlist, particularly the ones my local library couldn’t provide), I was pleasantly surprised by the new cover, in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the book.


Enough of that. This post is about The Book of the Dun Cow, not about book covers.

When I described this book to a friend while I was reading it, I called it a fantasy allegory. In the new afterword, though, Wangerin writes that he never intended it to be an allegory. He doesn’t want his work to be reduced to a single explanation or understanding, to be put in a box. I can understand and appreciate it.

The writing is simple and straightforward. The book could be a quick and easy read, but I found it more enjoyable to take my time. I very much appreciated that many of the chapters are quite short — I sometimes have difficulty putting a book down when I need to go to bed or tackle some pressing project, but the frequent chapter breaks made it easier for me to take a break from this book.

This is a fantasy tale, the classic good versus evil battle, set in a world without humans. All of the characters are animal.

In all, it’s a good read.

While writing this post, I enjoyed this review.


4 responses to “The Book of the Dun Cow by Walter Wangerin Jr.

  1. Click the blue, underlined title of the book under the second cover.

  2. Pingback: Saint Julian by Walter Wangerin Jr. « Word Lily

  3. Pingback: Walt Wangerin teaches: Hutchmoot keynote « Word Lily

What do you think? I'd love to know.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s