Synopses & Reviews
"Merlin Sheldrake's marvelous tour of these diverse and extraordinary life forms is eye-opening on why humans should consider fungi among the greatest of earth's marvels.... Wondrous." Time
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)
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Time - New Statesman - London Evening Standard - Science Friday
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
"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
"I fell in love with this book. Merlin is a scientist with the imagination of a poet and a beautiful writer.... This is a book that, by virtue of the power of its writing, shifts your sense of the human.... It will inspire a generation to enter mycology." Michael Pollan (Bay Area Book Festival, 2020)
"Dazzling, vibrant, vision-changing...a remarkable work by a remarkable writer, which succeeds in springing life into strangeness again." Robert Macfarlane, author of Underland
"Fungi are everywhere, and Merlin Sheldrake is an ideal guide to their mysteries. He's passionate, deeply knowledgeable, and a wonderful writer." Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction
"Sheldrake's charm and curiosity make for a book that is delightful to read but also grand and dizzying in how thoroughly it recalibrates our understanding of the natural world and the often overlooked organisms within it." Ed Yong, author of I Contain Multitudes
About the Author
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.