The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse

Charles Mackesy
HarperOne, 128 pages

Some scientists say the global pandemic began in November 2019. Most people mark January 2020 as the beginning — or, in the United States, mid-March. That is when everything went on lockdown and as deaths began to soar along with fear, anxiety and anger. As death made its way among us, so did the other virulent forces, leading to intense hatred of one another and deadly violence. All the forces collided: racism, white supremacy, despair, rage, virus. Then hurricanes swept in and fires all over the planet blazed. Further, an election brought forth toxic rhetoric. We are still reeling from it. When I say “we,” I mean the people of the world. No one is exempt.

In this time-like-no-other-time, this book has been number one on the Washington Post books list. That, of course, is not a measure of the quality of the book. But, along with other popular measures, it does tell you how it is touching the lives of millions of people searching for wisdom. This book is beautifully drawn. It reminds me of “The Little Prince,” a title that has endured for generations. I predict the same. Why? Because it distills practical, ordinary, wise virtues for a people longing for such guidance. Much like the book of Proverbs, the author has found a way to create a world of relationships where the practices of kindness, vulnerability, honesty, love and compassion rule the day. This is what we want to remember. I’ve read “The Little Prince” at least a dozen times (and probably more). I expect to do the same with this book. As Elizabeth Gilbert said: “The world that I am required to inhabit is this one. But the world that I long to inhabit is the one that Charlie Mackesy has created.”