Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile
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.
I loved Timothy's observations, his earthy outlooks on life, the world and it's inhabitants. In this book, it's the humans that come across as narrow, unseeing, clunky and out of place as they try to re-order Nature into what they f ...more
I liked it for its observations of humans and nature. And I got choked up at the end.
“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.” (from the Random House blurb)
I also liked Klinkenborg’s Making Hay, which I read many year ...more
i wish i could give this book 1 million stars.
it is SOOOOOOOO beautifull written. i dont know
if i've read a book that has ever taken my breathe
away just by the powerfully poetic mastery.
it's told from the perspective of an old tortoise
who is actually a girl but has been named Timothy.
Timothy's observations of humans is so accurate &
will make u sad but is so beautiful it will lift
if only there were more books like this. this is
one to read and re-read and read again.
Really. Here's a paragraph from the first page:
"Through the meadow. Past the alcove and down the brick-walk. Wicket-gate clicks shut behind us. Thomas sets me down beside the asparagus. Edge of my umbrageous forest. ...more
What can I say about a tortoise whose vocabulary is wider than mine? Within the first 20 pages, I had to look up umbrageous, tegument, venerey, borecole, hirundines, and sainfroin. (Thank heavens, Timothy provided a glossary.) Timothy, the eponymous abject reptile, was not showing off. He simply was using the best, most precise words he needed for his observations - the same vocabulary that Gilbert White, a 18th-century naturalist, used ...more
"Timothy's" observations about humans are very touching. For example, Timothy pities us because we have to wear clothes and can't be in touch with nature. I enjoyed the description of "timothy's" weigh-in. Very s ...more
Beautifully written. This book did induce more than a few pleasant naps -- but Timothy would find this perfectly appropriate.
This book provides Timothy's perspective to life in Selborne, and a slightly contrast ...more
It wasnt so much the weird style of writing, which I could totally get over. It was the content. Timothy lives in 18th century England, and his references are to all of this nature around the English town, the townspeople, and just the way life went on in those d ...more
I give 5-stars for style because written in the perspective of a turtle, this book somehow (with very short sentences) sort of moves like one, which I think is very well done. The perspective both philosophically and physical descriptions put the reader immediately in the position ...more
Although Timothy technically lives on a shelf in London's Natural History Museum, in Klinkenborg's hands she's alive and kicking in White's garden. On the editorial board of the New York Times and author of "The Rural Life" column and three books, Klinkenborg (through Timothy's voice) turns small observations about nature into powerful ideas about beauty, nature, humanity, and our role in the natural world. In wise, opinionated, and truncated language, Timothy captures the vagaries and hypocrisi...more
I think all of this would have been less of a problem if I'd sat down with the book over a cup of tea instead of rea ...more
Later that day I met a 17 year old Russian speaking parrot, all white with pale blue around his black eye. He was in a cage on the sidewalk outside a vacuum cleaner store. I then went into the fruit store next door. When I came out I looked back at him, he was watching me with his head tilted. My landlords have a 50 year old parrot held captive in the windowless basement, alone, in a padlocked cage. His name is Shakespeare. I often hear him screaming.
Well, t ...more
NYTimes editorial page, that occasional casual little paragraph
about what's up with the animals and plants on his NY state farm.
This book recreates the plant, animal & human life of the English
village of Selborne as recorded in the late 1700's by naturalist
Gilbert White. All from the viewpoint of a tortoise (mis-)named
Timothy who has many perceptive observations about humans and their
vaunted advantages as vertical and sel ...more
Bottom line: I'd rather spend my time in a turtle's head than Eggers' any day.
Seemed like a nice idea, but, like Daniel below, I got so frustrated with the pretentious, trying-so-hard-to-be-poetic language and structure. Ditched it after slogging through 10 pages of hard work, as I didn't really care what (if anything) happened next.