Timothy: Or, Notes of an Abject Reptile

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Knopf, 2006 - Fiction - 177 pages
2 Reviews

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.
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.”
Wry and wise, unexpectedly moving, and enchanting at every—careful—turn, Timothy will surprise and delight readers of all ages.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - AlanWPowers - LibraryThing

This is an American, current companion volume to Gilbert White's Natural History of Selbourne, narrated by Pastor White's own tortoise Timothy. Many times Timothy cites what Mr White said as there is ... Read full review

TIMOTHY;: or, Notes of an Abject Reptile

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

A dazzling riff on human beings and their weird ways "written" by an 18th-century tortoise that lived for years in the garden of English naturalist/curate Gilbert White and appeared in White's The ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Section 1
4
Section 2
5
Section 3
10
Section 4
12
Section 5
18
Section 6
25
Section 7
29
Section 8
34
Section 14
86
Section 15
91
Section 16
109
Section 17
115
Section 18
120
Section 19
152
Section 20
156
Section 21
159

Section 9
37
Section 10
44
Section 11
57
Section 12
71
Section 13
81
Section 22
160
Section 23
178
Section 24
179
Section 25
180
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

Verlyn Klinkenborg is a member of the editorial board of The New York Times. His previous books include Making Hay, The Last Fine Time, and The Rural Life. He lives in upstate New York.

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