A Tortoise for the Queen of Tonga
By Julia Whitty
(Mariner Books, Paperback, 9780618119806, 192pp.)
Publication Date: April 2002
Categories: Short Stories (single author)
Bringing a unique perspective and a singular voice to contemporary fiction, A TORTOISE FOR THE QUEEN OF TONGA features lush, poignant stories about the natural world. Here are mammals, historical figures, everyday people who discover the liberating properties of memory and knowledge in the face of captivity and loneliness. We meet a forlorn tortoise forced to live among humans. We witness orcas at Ocean World staging a revolt, using celibacy as their weapon. In a French cave, a young computer animator draws parallels between Cro-Magnon and modern women. One story even travels to heaven, where Charles Darwin seeks the source of human happiness.
Whitty joins her authority about wildlife and her rich imagination to spectacular effect. Drawing on twenty years' experience with making nature documentaries, she takes readers inside the minds of animals and people struggling to overcome their limitations. In a voice as magical as it is informed, A TORTOISE FOR THE QUEEN OF TONGA bridges the mythical and the mundane, the animal and the human. Julia Whitty is a brilliant new storyteller in American short fiction.
JULIA WHITTY's first book on oceans, The Fragile Edge, was awarded the John Burroughs Medal Award, the PEN USA Award, and the Kiriyama Prize. Her cover articles have appeared in Harper's Magazine and Mother Jones, where she is an environmental correspondent. She blogs at the Blue Marble and Deep Blue Home.