Before turning to book-length fiction Bodsworth was a journeyman journalist, particularly with Maclean's and later the Toronto Star, and much of the technical expertise of the professional magazine writer is evident in his complex yet simply written wilderness parables.
The Last of the Curlews (1954), his first and best-known book, centres on the passing of traditional Inuit life. Less well known is The Atonement of Ashley Morden (1964), an anti-war novel whose plot revolves around germ warfare experiments. In their subjects both books were ahead of their time. The Sparrow's Fall (1967), a tale of survival in the wilderness, brings Bodsworth's concerns with ethics and religion nearer the surface. He has also written nonfiction in the natural history field.