A mind-bending journey into the hidden universe of fungi, “one of those rare books that can truly change the way you see the world around you” (Helen Macdonald, author of H Is for Hawk).
“Dazzling, vibrant, vision-changing . . . a remarkable work by a remarkable writer, which succeeds in springing life into strangeness again.”—Robert Macfarlane, author of Underland
When we think of fungi, we likely think of mushrooms. But mushrooms are only fruiting bodies, analogous to apples on a tree. Most fungi live out of sight, yet make up a massively diverse kingdom of organisms that supports and sustains nearly all living systems. Fungi provide a key to understanding the planet on which we live, and the ways we think, feel, and behave.
In Entangled Life, the brilliant young biologist Merlin Sheldrake shows us the world from a fungal point of view, providing an exhilarating change of perspective. Sheldrake’s vivid exploration takes us from yeast to psychedelics, to the fungi that range for miles underground and are the largest organisms on the planet, to those that link plants together in complex networks known as the “Wood Wide Web,” to those that infiltrate and manipulate insect bodies with devastating precision.
Fungi throw our concepts of individuality and even intelligence into question. They are metabolic masters, earth makers, and key players in most of life’s processes. They can change our minds, heal our bodies, and even help us remediate environmental disaster. By examining fungi on their own terms, Sheldrake reveals how these extraordinary organisms—and our relationships with them—are changing our understanding of how life works.
Praise for Entangled Life
Merlin Sheldrake is a biologist and a writer. He received a Ph.D. in tropical ecology from the University of Cambridge for his work on underground fungal networks in tropical forests in Panama, where he was a predoctoral research fellow of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. He is a musician and keen fermenter. Entangled Life is his first book.
“Entangled Life is a gorgeous book of literary nature writing in the tradition of [Robert] Macfarlane and John Fowles, ripe with insight and erudition. . . . food for the soul.”—Eugenia Bone, Wall Street Journal
“[An] ebullient and ambitious exploration . . . This book may not be a psychedelic—and unlike Sheldrake, I haven’t dared to consume my copy (yet)—but reading it left me not just moved but altered, eager to disseminate its message of what fungi can do.”—Jennifer Szalai, The New York Times