I Never Met a Rattlesnake I Didn’t Like: a Memoir

Author: David Carpenter
ISBN: 9781771872270 Categories: Biography & Autobiography, Nature, Non-fiction, Essays
Publication Date: 31 August, 2022
Dimensions: 6 x 9"

David Carpenter’s collection of essays explores a city boy’s love of the wild, a passion that has enriched his life from boyhood. At 80, this irrepressible Saskatchewan raconteur examines his intense fascination with predators large and small, and his awe in the face of the variety of creatures that may be out to get us—or who are out to get one another. How does this combination of fear and wonder affect our relationship with the natural world? And why has Carpenter personally been both drawn to, and repelled by, so many wild animals, including alligators, wolves, cougars, spiders, black bears, grizzlies, weasels, and of course, snakes, and particularly deadly rattlesnakes?

The stories that fuel the essays in this entertaining memoir are as diverse as the animals—and insects!—at the heart of Carpenter’s inquiry. As a young man, Carpenter is working in Jasper National Park, and he’s lugging his banjo—hustling on his way to a paid gig—when he takes a short cut through the woods, makes a wrong turn and ends up at the dump. He looks across at some large animals. Horses? No, five, count ‘em, five grizzlies. Luckily a ranger on an actual horse leads him out of danger. He’s fishing for brook trout in the mountains with a friend, cooling their catch in a convenient snow bank. But the fish keep disappearing. He finds them cached under a nearby rock, and when he tries to pull one out, he’s in a tug-of-war with some hidden creature, small but fierce—is it a mink?

Encounters like these drive the author into philosophical conjecture, into reading everything he can get his hands on about these and other creatures as he contemplates our place in the wild, and the value of the wild in our lives. These essays are essential reading for those of us who share David Carpenter’s fascination with the predators that so fundamentally shape our understanding of wilderness and the necessity to preserve it.

About the Author

David Carpenter is the author of 14 books, mostly fiction and nonfiction, including his work with Augie Merasty in The Education of Augie Merasty, for which he won several awards. He has won several Saskatchewan Book Awards, including Book of the Year for his critique of modern hunting practices, A Hunter’s Confession. He won the Kloppenburg Award for Literary Excellence in 2015 and was presented with an honorary doctorate for his work from the University of Saskatchewan in 2018. Since boyhood he has spent many summers in the bush, canoeing, fishing, hiking and camping, a nature-obsessed lover of wild animals and wilderness habitats.


“Carpenter’s a bonafide storyteller and a ‘rabid conservationist,’ and his entertaining stories and mind-broadening research into ‘this ancient cafeteria called nature’—and who and what threaten it—is an epiphanic read.”
—Shelley A. Leedahl, SaskBooks Reviews
Full review here


WINNER: 2023 Nonfiction Award, High Plains Book Awards

2023 Nonfiction Award, Saskatchewan Book Awards
2023 City of Saskatoon Award, Saskatchewan Book Awards

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