Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile Info
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Few writers have attempted to explore the natural history of a
particular animal by adopting the animal's own sensibility. But Verlyn
Klinkenborg-with his deeply empathetic relation to the world around
him-has done just that, and done it brilliantly, in Timothy; or Notes of
an Abject Reptile.
This is the story of a tortoise whose
real life was observed by the eighteenth-century English curate Gilbert
White, author of The Natural History of Selborne. For thirteen years,
Timothy lived in White's garden-making an occasional appearance in his
journals. Now Klinkenborg gives the tortoise an unforgettable voice and
powers of observation as keen as those of any bipedal naturalist. The
happy result: Timothy regales us with an account of a gracefully paced
(no unseemly hurry!) eight-day adventure outside the gate ("How do I
escape from that nimble-tongued, fleet-footed race? . . . Walk through
the holes in their attention") and entertains us with shrewd
observations about the curious habits and habitations of humanity. "To
humans," Timothy says with doleful understanding, "in and out are
matters of life and death. Not to me. Warm earth waits just beneath me. .
. . The humans' own heat keeps them from sensing it."
and wise, unexpectedly moving, and enchanting at every-careful-turn,
Timothy will surprise and delight readers of all ages.