BookBrowse Reviews Timothy by Verlyn Klinkenborg

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Timothy

Notes of an Abject Reptile

by Verlyn Klinkenborg

Timothy by Verlyn Klinkenborg X
Timothy by Verlyn Klinkenborg
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Feb 2006, 192 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2007, 192 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

BookBrowse:


A dazzling riff on human beings and their weird ways. Nature

From the book jacket: 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.

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. For thirteen years, Timothy lived in White’s garden—making an occasional appearance in his journals. Now Klinkenborg gives the tortoise an unforgettable voice and powers of observation as keen as those of any bipedal naturalist. The happy result: Timothy regales us with an account of a gracefully paced (no unseemly hurry!) eight-day adventure outside the gate ("How do I escape from that nimble-tongued, fleet-footed race? . . . Walk through the holes in their attention") and entertains us with shrewd observations about the curious habits and habitations of humanity. "To humans," Timothy says with doleful understanding, "in and out are matters of life and death. Not to me. Warm earth waits just beneath me. . . . The humans' own heat keeps them from sensing it."

Wry and wise, unexpectedly moving, and enchanting at every—careful—turn, Timothy will surprise and delight readers of all ages.

Comment: The critics positively rave about this little book (see below for a sampling of their comments).  Personally, I found Timothy to be charming but not riveting -  despite the fact that Selborne is just a couple of miles away from where I grew up in Hampshire, England, and therefore the setting was familiar to me.  Having said that I'm pretty sure that this has more to do with my current state of mind than any fault of the book.  It's a small volume that cannot be hurried, and at the moment my life is too frenetic to enjoy something that needs to be read at tortoise-speed.  However, I will certainly be keeping it on the shelf to look forward to in calmer days when I hope to be able to appreciate Timothy's wisdom more fully.  As always, don't take my word for it, browse an excerpt for yourself at BookBrowse.

"Told in terse sentences that can read like stanzas of poetry. . .this brief but powerful book is unforgettable." - Chicago Sun-Times.

"…what [this] engaging reptile has to say will stay with readers long after they close the pages of this astonishing book." - The Washington Times.

This review was originally published in March 2006, and has been updated for the January 2007 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.



This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Award Winners

  • Book Jacket: Killers of the Flower Moon
    Killers of the Flower Moon
    by David Grann
    Voted 2017 Best Nonfiction by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    The long, sorrowful list of injustices done ...
  • Book Jacket: The Dry
    The Dry
    by Jane Harper
    Voted 2017 Best Debut Novel by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    After receiving a letter from his childhood...
  • Book Jacket: Little Fires Everywhere
    Little Fires Everywhere
    by Celeste Ng
    Voted 2017 Best Fiction by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    Small towns, big drama. Acclaimed author ...
  • Book Jacket: La Belle Sauvage
    La Belle Sauvage
    by Philip Pullman
    Voted 2017 Best Young Adult Novel by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    I wasn't quite sure what to expect ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Second Mrs. Hockaday by Susan Rivers

At once a love story, a history lesson and a beautifully written tale of forgiveness.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Story of Arthur Truluv
    by Elizabeth Berg

    An emotionally powerful novel from New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Berg.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Autumn

Autumn by Ali Smith

One of the New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year, and a Man Booker Prize Finalist

Enter

Word Play

The Big Holiday Wordplay: $400+ in Prizes

Enter Now

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.