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 18th century English curate Gilbert White, author of The Natural History of Selborne. For 13 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, eight-day adventure outside the gate, and entertains us with shrewd observations about the curious habits and habitations of humanity. Wry and wise, unexpectedly moving, and enchanting, Timothy will surprise and delight people of all ages.More
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"Hilarious and revealing...Verlyn Klinkenborg's perception of the interconnectedness of life is sublime." (Booklist)
"Charming and most enjoyable...Klinkenborg's prose is a pleasure to hear." (The New York Times)
"Magical...Timothy comes down off the shelf of the Natural History Museum and comes alive." (Chicago Tribune)
"[A] gorgeous hybrid of naturalist observation, novelistic invention and philosophical meditation...studied, beautiful reflections on the present and memory, earth and weather, love and utility, human and beast. This is a wholly unexpected and astonishing book." (Publishers Weekly)
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No abject reptile, this!
- S. Wells
unusual, wonderfully charming