“What you must understand about a bear attack is that you are never 100 percent of what happened to you and how it came about,” writes ecologist Doug Shafer in “In the Eye of the Wild,” a memoir that traces his initial survival instinct to the consequences of ignoring it. After he was attacked by a black bear while walking through the woods near his home in Jackson, Wyo., in 2010, he began to reflect on what would happen to him as a black bear was released from captivity in March 2010, the next day.
The picture he paints is bleak: Moët Hennessy-owned Yellowstone National Park in 2012; no peace on the landscape; his relationship with his 2-year-old daughter changed; his wife found a new home; his empire was looking wobbly and he was experiencing numbness and a lack of focus in his own work.
Unsurprisingly, Shafer came to the conclusion that he had to move from Jackson to Seattle to regroup his life and have space to write. His new home base is essentially a conservation community, and “in the center of my new neighborhood is a mosque and synagogue. In the ancient, majority-white county where we used to live, there was only one of each,” writes Shafer, while his favorite movie is “Gladiator.”
“It’s a story of how a group of diverse outsiders and villains is part of a general transformation over time of a world of edginess, violence, rejection and aggression for what now seems like a more peaceful world of acceptance, acceptance and acceptance,” he writes.