The Washington Post raves about Of Time and Turtles

The Washington Post raves about Of Time and Turtles:

Few writers are better than Montgomery at capturing the wonder of animals without taming them. She writes that the eyes of an Indochinese box turtle evoke “the polished stones you find in a clear stream, and carry with them a hint of a stone’s ancient patience.” Many of Montgomery’s best similes are like this, equating one natural thing to another in a way that suggests a filiating network of correspondences and connections that might ordinarily go unnoticed. But she is equally good at capturing the often transformative experience of human contact with animals….

On more than one occasion I had to put the book down because I was sobbing, sometimes simply because turtles are just that special….

Like all of Montgomery’s work, then, “Of Time and Turtles” is a book that will make you want to be not a better human but a better animal. Hers is an oeuvre that encourages us to contemplate our continuity with other creatures, proving that our responsibility for their well-being is not some God-given, Adamic burden but a consequence of our culpability for damaging the world that they share with us, and we with them.

Next Big Idea ClubSy shares 5 key insights from her new book, Of Time and Turtles, with The Next Big Idea Club, including:

“We all think we know turtles. Everyone has seen them basking on a log. Most of us have seen one, or helped one, as it slowly crossed a road in the spring. But much of what we know about turtles is wrong, and much of what we are learning is astonishing.

“Turtles aren’t just these slow, somewhat hapless creatures who fall over on their backs and can’t get up. There are turtles so fast that they can outrun a 10-year-old in a 100-yard dash. There are turtles who hunt. There are turtles who sleep in trees and have grasping tails to help them climb. There are turtles with googly eyes, turtles who breathe through their butts, turtles who pee through their mouths, and turtles whose shells glow in the dark. Recent research shows that turtles even talk: a test of 50 different species found all of them used vocal communication. Some baby turtles start communicating with their nestmates and mothers before they have even hatched out of their eggs. Scientists have found that at least 15 species of turtles bask in moonlight as well as sunlight; that some turtles learn mazes as fast as lab rats; and that turtles have distinctive personalities, long memories, and deep emotions.”

Inside the Best-Seller ListWhat can writers learn from turtles? The New York Times asked Sy for their column, Inside the Bestseller List. Sy answered:

“Turtles embody patience and fortitude,” Montgomery said during a phone interview. These are endangered traits for all humans, since we’re increasingly distracted by what she described as “little buzzing, wiggling, flicking, blinking gadgets…. As a writer, you can’t have that. You have got to be alone with your thoughts and your words.”

Sy added: “When a turtle looks at you, when a turtle bathes you in its laser focus, when it favors you with its attention, you feel singled out and glorified,” Montgomery said.

BookBub loves Of Time and Turtles: “This book will open your eyes to the hidden beauty of our shelled friends.”

Sy and Matt talk turtles with Tess Terrible host of Where We Live on Connecticut Public Radio. Listen here. And with Robin Young, host of Here & Now on WBUR. Listen here. And also: Sy and Matt join Dan Skinner, host of Conversations, on Kansas Public Radio. Listen here.