Thursday, 5 January 2012

The Tiger

The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and SurvivalThe Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival by John Vaillant

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This true story of a man-eating tiger in the Far East of Russia reads like one of the very best suspense thrillers. I felt sheer terror from the beginning of the book. A man and his dog are returning to their cabin after a day of hunting. Suddenly they realize that something “is there by the cabin. The hackles on the dog’s back and on [the hunter’s] neck rise together. Together, they hear a rumble in the dark that seems to come from everywhere at once.”

John Valliant skilfully delays revealing what actually happened. We know there is a killer tiger out there but we also learn there is much more than just an animal gone mad. Valliant deftly weaves together contemplations about human nature, animal psychology and the history, politics and geography of Russia. Indeed, his research on all of these topics is impressive.

I had the constant feeling of being stalked as I read the book, and there are many moments where I was left trying to catch my breath.

It is no wonder a judge is the champion for this book. Evidence is given from both sides of the story: man and tiger before judgement is given.

So far, The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival would be my pick for winning Canada Reads.

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