Thursday, November 09, 2006

BOOKS | Tigers in Red Weather

Michael Dirda reviews Ruth Padel's Tigers in Red Weather.

Ruth Padel is better known as a poet in the UK. Here is the chronicle of her travels to India, Nepal, Bhutan, Russia, Korea, China, Indonesia, and Myanmar in search of tigers. It looks promising. Witness what she writes of the great hunter:

"Tigers naturally hunt secretly. Their technique is all about getting close under cover. It is the art of stillness, geometry, concealment. Tigers have great speed over short distances but are no use in a long chase. Once they get into a race with prey they have lost. . . . Tigers are heavy, and work through long grass, dense bushes, trees. It can take hours. The angle you come from is all. A hunt ends with a burst of explosive power but depends on long preparation. The fifty yards that a jungle-smart man will cover in two minutes, thinking he is quiet, may take a tiger fifteen. The tiger will really be invisible. Rather than risk the faint crackle of a dead leaf, she will slowly crush it to dust."

Totally useless trivia: Did you know Ruth Padel is the great-great-granddaughter of Charles Darwin?

No comments: