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Timothy's Book: Notes of an English Country Tortoise Paperback – 14 Jun 2007

3.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Portobello Books Ltd; New edition edition (14 Jun. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846270553
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846270550
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,744,276 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

"Against many kinds of odds, Timothy's Book seduces and succeeds.
Klinkenborg makes something original and beguiling from his sources." -- The Independent

"Klinkenborg gives Timothy powers of observation equal to his owner's and a
stiff philosophical mindset, hard shell, charm and slow humour.' -- The Guardian

Written with precision...Klinkenborg captures the essence of how England's rural societies were -- The English Garden

`It's surreal, funny and sometimes achingly sad.' -- The Times

`Klinkenborg has constructed probably the most comprehensive biography yet
of an 18th-century tortoise.' -- The Observer Review

`This quaint and charming tortoise-eye-view of all the delights of the
Hampshire countryside is utterly enchanting.' -- The Good Book Guide

American author Klinkenborg is obviously steeped in White and has used his immense knowledge to produce a charming, fascinating book -- `Booksellers' Choice for October', The Bookseller

An evocative study in time and lack of motion...charming...invites one to take stock of pleasures of the countryside -- Country Life

It is evocative, and elegantly, succinctly, beautifully written, full of wisdom and strangeness. -- Susan Hill

[Timothy's] "stoic progress" is painstakingly described, both in White's systematic terms, and in Timothy's more poetic way...charming language -- Pick of the Paperbacks" The Daily Telegraph

About the Author

VERLYN KLINKENBORG is the author of three previous books: Making Hay, The Last Fine Time and The Rural Life. He is on the editorial board of the New York Times, and he lives on a farm in upstate New York with his wife.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This elegant little novel is narrated from the point of view of Gilbert White of Selborne's pet tortoise, Timothy. For White, the great 18th-century British naturalist, Timothy was both an object of warm domestic affection and cool scientific observation, but for Timothy - at least according to the fictional version presented here - White and most of the other humans encountered by the venerable creature continually misunderstood and misrepresented him; so here, in his own book, Timothy gets to set the record straight, and offer the tortoise's-eye view of the world. He is, for example, continually surprised at humanity's lack of a fitting home (in contrast to his own snug shell): 'Great soft tottering beasts. Houses never by when they need them. Even the humblest villagers live in ill-fitting houses. The greater the personage the worse the fit', and he is eloquent on the subject of the dreamy pleasures of hibernation ('Earth beneath me throbs with warmth. Cold black sky presses down. Current of memory tugs at me...')

The danger of a fictional device such as having a tortoise for a narrator is that it could come to seem whimsical over the course of an entire novel, but the way that the author slyly reverses the sometimes arrogant human observation of the natural world, to present nature's view of humanity, is wonderfully done, and in the end Klingenborg succeeds in creating not only a sympathetic historical character, with a voice and personality all his own, but a powerful ecological fable for our times.
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Format: Hardcover
Having just- in the past five minues- finished reading this book, I thought it important to let others know what a charming book this is.

Looking through the eyes of Timothy- Gilbert White's tortoise, we see a different perception of Selbourne so widely recounted through Gilbert White's own writing. This book ran the risk of coming across as twee and sickly, but the book is written sensitively and with great understanding and admiration for Timothy the tortoise.

Timothy notes the behaviours of those living in Selbourne and others who enter his life- just as Gibert White observed the behaviour of the flora and fauna around him. You can not help but empathise with this creature who sees things with humour, honesty and respect and highlights the differences between him and many of the villagers.

This book is written beautifully and allows the reader to stop and really reflect on the world in which Timothy lived- a far cry from his natural habitat, and reflect also on why it was thought acceptable and such a spectacle to remove an animal from this and move him to a village in Hampshire. There are thought provoking ethical strands running through this book and I found it easy to engage with these throughout.

I highly recommend this book and I defy anyone to not have admiration for such an incredible species once reading it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I like this book very much, You do need to be interested in natural history to really enjoy it. I wish I had read Gilbert Whites book first.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
nice little book
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Format: Paperback
We read this book for our book club and it got a near-unanimous thumbs-down. Dull, dull, dull.
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