Quarantine Read: 'Tarka the Otter,' by Henry Williamson
AP

Quarantine Read: 'Tarka the Otter,' by Henry Williamson

{{featured_button_text}}
"Tarka the Otter," by Henry Williamson.

"Tarka the Otter," by Henry Williamson. (Penguin Random House/TNS)

"Tarka the Otter" by Henry Williamson

Reading "Tarka the Otter" is a beautiful, heady experience - like spending two years wandering a riverbank in rural England. The subtitle sums up the book neatly - it is the story of the "joyful water-life and death" of an otter in rural Devon. But even though Tarka dies in the end, this classic novel (written in 1927 by Henry Williamson, newly republished by New York Review Books) is neither sad nor depressing.

Beginning with Tarka's birth, it takes us almost day by day through his life - learning to swim and fish, wrestling and sliding down riverbanks with his littermates and mother, heading off to find a mate.

Beauty is everywhere - in the glinting surface of the river, the twittering birds, the silent herons. But danger is also everywhere: Everything eats everything else. And the local farmers hunt otters, which they consider to be vermin. One otter-hunting dog - Deadlock - is particularly ominous.

There's no anthropomorphizing here - just an otter's life, with all its perils and joys. "Time flowed with the sunlight of the still green place. The summer drake-flies, whose wings were as the most delicate transparent leaves, hatched from their cases on the water and danced over the shadowed surface."

Charles Tunnicliffe's woodcuts are as elegant and detailed as Williamson's prose.

Visit the Star Tribune (Minneapolis) at www.startribune.com

0
0
0
0
0

Stay up-to-date on what's happening

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

MINNEAPOLIS - Rudi Hargesheimer doesn't get to the North Shore much these days, and yet much of him is forever attached to the big water, granite cliffs and pines. For years, he made the trip north from the metro area when he had off consecutive days from Midwest Mountaineering, that outdoors fixture in Minneapolis where he was a manager for 40 years. He eventually bought a half-interest in a ...

"The Mountains Wild" by Sarah Stewart Taylor; Minotaur Books (416 pages, $27.99) ___ Grief over the loss of a loved one never leaves a family as Sarah Stewart Taylor's razor-sharp launch of a new series adroitly shows. "The Mountains Wild" uses the evocative background of Ireland to further explore its characters who share the Emerald Isle's remoteness, mystique and complicated past. Erin ...

"Of Bears and Ballots" by Heather Lende; Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill (274 pages, $25.95) ___ In this fraught, bewildering American era, Heather Lende's latest memoir is a blessed balm. Lende, who has written three previous books about her life in the wildly beautiful, isolated, eclectic town of Haines, Alaska, here focuses on her time as a Haines Borough assembly member. In that role, she ...

CHICAGO - More than 1,200 people have been shot in Chicago so far this year, and there have been more than 220 homicides - a level similar to 2016 and 2017, the most violent years in the city since the 1990s, according to data kept by the Tribune. In the wake of this violence, Big Shoulders Books just released "American Gun: A Poem by 100 Chicagoans." The book, edited by poet and DePaul ...

"Weaver on Strategy: The Classic Work on the Art of Managing a Baseball Team" by Earl Weaver; Potomac Books (202 pages, $19.95 paperback) ___ Nike unveiled the "Chicks Dig the Long Ball" advertising campaign in 1999, one year after the home run chase between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. Fifteen years earlier, Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver's 1984 book, "Weaver on Strategy," documented the ...

Here are the bestsellers for the week that ended Saturday, July 4, compiled from data from independent and chain bookstores, book wholesalers and independent distributors nationwide, powered by NPD BookScan (c) 2019 NPD Group. (Reprinted from Publishers Weekly, published by PWxyz LLC. (c) 2019, PWxyz LLC.) HARDCOVER FICTION 1. "28 Summers" by Elin Hilderbrand (Little, Brown) Last week: 1 2. ...

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

News Alert

Breaking News