Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law

Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law

by Mary Roach

Narrated by Mary Roach

Unabridged — 9 hours, 17 minutes

Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law

Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law

by Mary Roach

Narrated by Mary Roach

Unabridged — 9 hours, 17 minutes

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Overview

Notes From Your Bookseller

Oh, the places we’ve explored with Mary Roach as the guide! The morgue, the afterlife, the bedroom, the battlefield, our own alimentary canals, and space. In Fuzz, we follow her gladly down the fraught path of human-wildlife conflicts. What to do when animals break laws meant for humans? Thorny matters indeed. Mary Roach, the science teacher we all wish we’d had in school, is never afraid to ask any question. “I’m here. I might as well ask,” she states. That she unabashedly does so means we readers are by far richer for the delicious wildness and range of her curiosity.

One of Audible's Best of 2021
One of AudioFile Magazine's Best Audiobooks of 2021
An Instant New York Times Bestseller
#1 Los Angeles Times Bestseller
#1 Indie Hardcover Nonfiction Bestseller
A Washington Post and Publishers Weekly Best Nonfiction Book of 2021
Longlisted for the 2022 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction

Join "America's funniest science writer" (Peter Carlson, Washington Post), Mary Roach, on an irresistible investigation into the unpredictable world where wildlife and humans meet.

What's to be done about a jaywalking moose? A bear caught breaking and entering? A murderous tree? Three hundred years ago, animals that broke the law would be assigned legal representation and put on trial. These days, as New York Times best-selling author Mary Roach discovers, the answers are best found not in jurisprudence but in science: the curious science of human-wildlife conflict, a discipline at the crossroads of human behavior and wildlife biology.

Roach tags along with animal-attack forensics investigators, human-elephant conflict specialists, bear managers, and "danger tree" faller blasters. Intrepid as ever, she travels from leopard-terrorized hamlets in the Indian Himalaya to St. Peter's Square in the early hours before the pope arrives for Easter Mass, when vandal gulls swoop in to destroy the elaborate floral display. She taste-tests rat bait, learns how to install a vulture effigy, and gets mugged by a macaque.

Combining little-known forensic science and conservation genetics with a motley cast of laser scarecrows, langur impersonators, and trespassing squirrels, Roach reveals as much about humanity as about nature's lawbreakers. When it comes to "problem" wildlife, she finds, humans are more often the problem-and the solution. Fascinating, witty, and humane, Fuzz offers hope for compassionate coexistence in our ever-expanding human habitat.


Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

★ 05/24/2021

Bestseller Roach (Bonk) sheds light on nature’s malefactors in this often funny, always provocative survey of species that “regularly commit acts that put them at odds with humans.” Readers will learn that most lethal bear attacks (which are very rare) are committed by what is commonly believed to be the less dangerous black bear, and that the animal responsible for the most damage to civil aircraft in the U.S. is, surprisingly, the white-tailed deer. Along the way, Roach attends a training for wildlife officers on using forensics to identify the culprits of attacks, where shop talk involves such questions as “ever tase an elk?” In Vatican City, papal officials have a scarecrow that uses lasers to scare off birds and keep them from destroying Easter flower displays. Roach hopes that humans can come to embrace coexistence even with creatures seen as pests—as she does the rat living in her own home. Roach’s writing is wry, full of heart, and loaded with intriguing facts: “You may be wondering: When you live off your own fat, do you need to use the toilet? If you are a bear, you do not.” This eminently entertaining outing is another winner from Roach. (Sept.)

Science News - Bethany Brookshire

"The book brims with Roach’s irreverent humor, which particularly shines when she experiences human-animal conflict firsthand... A blend of modern science and history, with Roach’s flair for spotting hidden absurdities... As another entry in Roach’s canon of books, Fuzz stands tall (and hairy), educating as much as it entertains."

Vicki Constantine Croke

"An idiosyncratic tour with Roach as the wisecracking, ever-probing guide... My favorite moments, ultimately, weren’t the funny ones, but those that reveal a bit of scientific poetry."

Amelia Urry

"[Fuzz is] powerfully propelled by the force of Roach’s unflinching fascination with the weird, the gross and the downright improbable... There’s a wacky genius to [her] interjections...[Her] curious and generous engagement with her subjects makes for world-expanding reading."

Erik Larson

"Hilarious! With Fuzz, Mary Roach again takes us into an unfamiliar scientific realm, in this case the science of managing the conflicts between humans and the natural world—lethal leopards, rampaging elephants, jet-downing birds, even killer trees. It’s an ever-widening conflict zone, but one that Ms. Roach gleefully mines for a multitude of bizarre facts that’ll make you snort coffee through your nose."

Science - Katherine E. Himes

"Each chapter is packed with the results of [Roach’s] detailed investigations. Roach uses footnotes to add both depth and lightness to the topic at hand by capturing misfit studies, asides, and hilarious tangents... Refreshing."

New Scientist - Tiffany O'Callaghan

"With her characteristic dry wit, [Roach] brings an intense fascination to the seldom discussed details and the at times absurd miscellany in the unexplored corners of unappreciated research... It is impossible not to smirk, chortle and sometimes outright belly laugh as you read her many wry asides and funny but fascinating footnotes... But the real trick Roach pulls off is to keep you laughing while at the same time making sure the earnest points come across."

Ed Yong

"Reading a Mary Roach book is like spending a luxurious and joyful evening with the perfect dinner guest. Delightful facts become indelibly etched in your brain, and only later do you realize that hours have passed and your face slightly hurts from smiling too hard. In Fuzz, Roach’s peerless storytelling skills are paired with a sense of moral urgency, as she recounts stories of humans and other animals, uneasily and clumsily learning to co-exist in a world that they must now share."

Buzzfeed - Emerson Malone

"Full of kernels of fascinating information... Her approach is informative and unpretentious, and she’s always armed with a dry sense of humor. Roach will change the way you think about the great outdoors. What more could you ask for?"

BookPage (starred review) - Alice Cary

"This book is such a rich stew of anecdotes and lore that it’s best savored slowly, bit by bit... No matter the situation, Roach approaches it with contagious enthusiasm."

From the Publisher

Roach is an observant and witty writer with an eye for detail and a passion for facts. As it turns out, she is also a remarkably skilled narrator with a pleasant mid-range voice. She reads with verve, and her phrasing and pacing keep the text moving while enabling our laughter or stunned amazement. Roach also re-creates accents, conversations, and speech patterns like the best mimic. What a delightful and informative listen.” AudioFile Magazine, Earphones Award Winner

"An idiosyncratic tour with Roach as the wisecracking, ever-probing guide... My favorite moments, ultimately, weren’t the funny ones, but those that reveal a bit of scientific poetry."
Vicki Constantine Croke, New York Times Book Review

"With her characteristic dry wit, [Roach] brings an intense fascination to the seldom discussed details and the at times absurd miscellany in the unexplored corners of unappreciated research... It is impossible not to smirk, chortle and sometimes outright belly laugh as you read her many wry asides and funny but fascinating footnotes... But the real trick Roach pulls off is to keep you laughing while at the same time making sure the earnest points come across."
Tiffany O'Callaghan, New Scientist

"Full of kernels of fascinating information... Her approach is informative and unpretentious, and she’s always armed with a dry sense of humor. Roach will change the way you think about the great outdoors. What more could you ask for?"
Emerson Malone, Buzzfeed

"The book brims with Roach’s irreverent humor, which particularly shines when she experiences human-animal conflict firsthand... A blend of modern science and history, with Roach’s flair for spotting hidden absurdities... As another entry in Roach’s canon of books, Fuzz stands tall (and hairy), educating as much as it entertains."
Bethany Brookshire, Science News

"Hilarious! With Fuzz, Mary Roach again takes us into an unfamiliar scientific realm, in this case the science of managing the conflicts between humans and the natural world―lethal leopards, rampaging elephants, jet-downing birds, even killer trees. It’s an ever-widening conflict zone, but one that Ms. Roach gleefully mines for a multitude of bizarre facts that’ll make you snort coffee through your nose."
Erik Larson, bestselling author of The Splendid and the Vile

"Bestseller Roach sheds light on nature’s malefactors in this often funny, always provocative survey...Roach’s writing is wry, full of heart, and loaded with intriguing facts...This eminently entertaining outing is another winner from Roach."
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"This book is such a rich stew of anecdotes and lore that it’s best savored slowly, bit by bit... No matter the situation, Roach approaches it with contagious enthusiasm."
Alice Cary, BookPage (starred review)

Library Journal

★ 07/01/2021

The expert on quirky science writing doesn't disappoint. In Roach's (Grunt; Gulp; Stiff) newest book, she brings readers on her journey into the realm of human-wildlife conflict. Roach's writing combines research with firsthand experience, plus tips for handling an unplanned encounter with a wild animal. She observes and talks with international laypeople and specialists across many fields, such as animal-attack forensics investigators. Her natural curiosity and wit pair well with her topics, including her harassment by monkeys, and the way emus and albatrosses outsmarted the Australian and U.S. militaries, respectively. She gets elbow-deep in crime scenes with furry suspects and travels to India to investigate the high rate of deaths by elephant. Roach also explores how politics, climate change, and religion can complicate human-wildlife interactions worldwide. Like Roach's previous best-selling pop science works, this book is unpretentious and honest about what she sees and what she learns along the way. VERDICT A must-read for wildlife enthusiasts, popular science readers, and anyone who has enjoyed Roach's other books. Her occasionally awkward interactions with people and animals make for the engaging narrative style that Roach is famous for.—Cate Triola, Capella Univ., Minneapolis

OCTOBER 2021 - AudioFile

Author Mary Roach does a fantastic job narrating her wonderful new foray into science-related stuff. In this instance, she tracks nature’s “law-breaking” interactions with the human world. Bears, birds, elephants, macaque monkeys, lethal plants, and more take her into the field around the world. Roach is an observant and witty writer with an eye for detail and a passion for facts. As it turns out, she is also a remarkably skilled narrator with a pleasant mid-range voice. She reads with verve, and her phrasing and pacing keep the text moving while enabling our laughter or stunned amazement. Roach also re-creates accents, conversations, and speech patterns like the best mimic. What a delightful and informative listen. A.C.S. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award, 2021 Best Audiobook © AudioFile 2021, Portland, Maine

Kirkus Reviews

★ 2021-06-29
Tracing the line between wildlife and the law, the acclaimed science writer examines how humans interact with the natural world.

“What is the proper course when wild animals break laws intended for people?” So asks Roach in a book that, in the author’s characteristic style, ranges widely, from wild animal attacks to the inherent dangers of certain plants to ways in which we have treated animals that most humans consider vermin. The author begins by examining “the intractable nature of human-wildlife conflict—as it is known today by those who grapple with it professionally.” Roach discusses well-known conflicts such as bear attacks before moving on to an account of her visit to a tea plantation in West Bengal, India, “a place where ‘the elephant in the room’ is not a metaphor.” As in her previous bestsellers such as Grunt and Stiff, the author has clearly done her homework, speaking to professionals across a variety of disciplines, including members of the military; nuns, priests, guards, and other workers at the Vatican; and those with job titles that sound “like something you’d hear if you asked an animal-besotted ten-year-old, What do you want to be when you grow up?” (The lucky fellow in question, who has a doctorate in wildlife biology, researches mountain lions and gray wolves, two apex predators.) Traveling from a bear seminar in Reno to a bird-infested island in the Pacific that plagued the American military during World War II, among many other venues, Roach joyfully explores how human culture and wildlife, including plant life, have either found ways to coexist or are constantly at odds. Throughout, Roach highlights people who are genuinely passionate about the work, and she also includes suggestions for readers on how to deal ethically (and effectively) with their own wildlife issues, wherever they live.

From the terrifying to the frustrating, a great starting point for understanding the animal world.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940159927859
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication date: 09/14/2021
Edition description: Unabridged
Sales rank: 200,435
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