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Timothy, or Notes of an Abject Reptile

Written by Verlyn Klinkenborg

Timothy, or Notes of an Abject Reptile
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Category: Nature - Reptiles & Amphibians
Imprint: Vintage
Format: Trade Paperback
Pub Date: January 2007
Price: $13.00
Can. Price: $16.00
ISBN: 978-0-679-73753-7 (0-679-73753-7)
Pages: 192



 
Few writers have attempted to explore the natural history of a particular animal by adopting the animal’s own sensibility. But Verlyn Klinkenborg has done just that in Timothy: an insightful and utterly engaging story of the world’s most famous tortoise, whose real life was observed by the eighteenth-century English curate and naturalist Gilbert White. For thirteen years, Timothy lived in White’s garden. Here Klinkenborg gives the tortoise an unforgettable voice and keen powers of observation on both human and natural affairs. Wry and wise, unexpectedly moving and enchanting at every–careful–turn, Timothy surprises and delights.

“Charming and most enjoyable.” –The New York Times

“Marvelously entertaining. . . . [Klinkenborg] affirm[s] nature, simply by giving it a voice. In the din of our times, that may be one voice worth listening to.” –The Boston Globe

“Klinkenborg is neither naturalist nor nature poet, but he writes about nature with the science of the former and the soul of the latter.” –Los Angeles Times

“Magical. . . . Timothy comes down off the shelf of the Natural History Museum and comes alive, delivering . . . the most satisfying meditation on life and the natural world since Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead.” –Chicago Tribune

Timothy is a disarming, original book. Part memoir, part poetry, and part philosophy, Verlyn Klinkenborg has written a natural history of empathy. Through the mind of a tortoise, boundaries between species dissolve and anthropocentric assumptions shatter, as we are led to examine and explore our cruelty, compassion and curiosity as human beings. This is a narrative of great heart and brave talent. Because of Timothy, I feel the world differently.” —Terry Tempest Williams, author of The Open Space of Democracy

“This is a droll and wise work of the highest imagination—and one of the best meditations on slowness, patience, and endurance I've ever read.” —Bill McKibben, author of Wandering Home

“Verlyn Klinkenborg, author of the wonderful The Rural Life, has imagined his way into the spirit and voice of a long-dead turtle. If only we humans were as wise as Klinkenborg’s ancient female—as calm as she in adversity, as poetic in our speech, as perceptive and patient about all that happens around us. Timothy is a terrific book, an astonishing feat of the imagination, and I want to believe the grand old girl would approve even if she were a little embarrassed about the public disclosures.” —Kent Haruf, author of Plainsong

Timothy is a luminous act of imagination and perspective. In reframing Gilbert White’s A Natural History of Selbourne, Klinkenborg dramatizes a set of human values and prejudices as portentous as those Orwell addressed in Animal Farm.” —Barry Lopez, author of Artic Dreams



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 
Verlyn Klinkenborg is the author of Making Hay, The Rural Life, and The Last Fine Time. A member of the editorial board of The New York Times, Klinkenborghas been published in The New Yorker, Harper's, Esquire, National Geographic, Smithsonian, Mother Jones, and The New York Times Magazine, among other publications. He lives in upstate New York.





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