Author: Valmik Thapar
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Living with Tigers is a book by Valmik Thapar, the well-known conservationist who is mostly associated with the famous Ranthambore tigress Machhli. The book is divided into chapters, each dealing with Thapar’s experiences with well-known tigers – Padmini, Ustad, Genghis, Broken Tooth and others.
What I liked
The idea of dealing with several animals on an individual basis, describing their personalities and histories in detail, in an interesting one. Predictably, the section on Machli is the best.
The illustrations by Rose Corcoran are the highlight of the book.
What I didn’t
Much as I wished it would, the book failed to grip me. I’ve read enough animal literature by stalwarts of the genre. My favourites stand out because the voice of the narrator adds an extra dimension to the stories. Gerald Durrell’s books sparkle with humour, Jim Corbett’s display his respect for the wild ones while giving a voice to the humans who share their habitat, Billy Arjan Singh speaks of animals with paternal pride. To me, this book did not measure up. While the detail is there, the emotion seemed to be lacking. After a while, the stories of individual tigers merged with one another, all seeming similar.
The verdict on Living With Tigers
Give this one a miss, unless you are a serious student of tiger conservation and want all the information you can possibly get about them.