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Publishers Weekly, 2002-04-08 Delightfully multidimensional, Watson's latest describes how through an enchanted childhood and a lucky adulthood he has been haunted by elephants. Watson fills his memoir with metaphorical tales, creating a spiritual and emotional rendering of elephants. He retells the old fable, for instance, of a group of blind men trying to describe an elephant when each can only examine a portion of it: its tail, its ear, its leg. Watson's is an adventure story filled with explanations of natural history. Seemingly tangential discussions enrich every topic, from the family tree of languages demonstrating the rarity of the click language of a Bushman he meets to the philosophy of tracking elephants. Like a shaman, Watson (Jacobson's Organ) conjures up the spirit of the massive beasts who can disappear in plain view and can be felt from miles away. He describes how elephants have shaped the land and people around them for as long as they have existed. They are intelligent, self-aware and profoundly emotional. Elephants have filled mystical spaces in the world, and Watson illustrates this through such examples as cave paintings, the royal white elephants of Siam and a story about a boy who, possessed to draw monsters until a Bushman intervenes, finds calm in drawing elephants. The fantastic adventures of Watson's youth in South Africa and his later years studying elephant history and zoology are tantalizing, and his chronicle of these majestic creatures will cast a spell on readers. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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