Spell of the Tiger: The Man-Eaters of Sundarbans

Overview

A book that earned Sy Montgomery her status as one of the most celebrated wildlife writers of our time, Spell of the Tiger brings readers to the Sundarbans, a vast tangle of mangrove swamp and tidal delta that lies between India and Bangladesh. It is the only spot on earth where tigers routinely eat people—swimming silently behind small boats at night to drag away fishermen, snatching honey collectors and woodcutters from the forest. But, unlike in other parts of Asia where tigers are rapidly being hunted to ...

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Spell of the Tiger: The Man-Eaters of Sundarbans

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Overview

A book that earned Sy Montgomery her status as one of the most celebrated wildlife writers of our time, Spell of the Tiger brings readers to the Sundarbans, a vast tangle of mangrove swamp and tidal delta that lies between India and Bangladesh. It is the only spot on earth where tigers routinely eat people—swimming silently behind small boats at night to drag away fishermen, snatching honey collectors and woodcutters from the forest. But, unlike in other parts of Asia where tigers are rapidly being hunted to extinction, tigers in the Sundarbans are revered. With the skill of a naturalist and the spirit of a mystic, Montgomery reveals the delicate balance of Sundarbans life, explores the mix of worship and fear that offers tigers unique protection there, and unlocks some surprising answers about why people at risk of becoming prey might consider their predator a god.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Clear, emotionally telling and always right to the point, her accounts of the other forms of life are without peer."—Farley Mowat, author of Never Cry Wolf
Library Journal - BookSmack!
Montgomery does not have a story of tiger v. man at the heart of her book, but she creates the same immersive world of place and character as Vaillant. In Montgomery's case, the place is the Sundarbans in India, the largest mangrove forest in the world. This watery wilderness is home to tigers, tiger sharks, deadly snakes, crocodiles, and flies that lay their eggs in human eyes. Montgomery journeyed here to study the culture, mythology, and lore of man and tigers. She found stories from the locals of tigers swimming out to boats and grabbing fisherman and she found records from Indian officials of 30 to 40 tiger-related deaths a year. But Montgomery's story is not about the killer beast, but instead about the land, people, and, most of all, the religious ideas of tiger worship, born out of centuries of man living next to a man-eater. . Neal Wyatt, "RA Crossroads," Booksmack! 10/7/10
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Sundarbans is a tidal forest, a vast mangrove swamp stretching between India and Bangladesh on the Bay of Bengal. Subject to devastating cyclones, it is infested with deadly snakes, crocodiles, sharks and more tigers than any other contiguous tract in the world. Here, tigers stalk and eat humans, about 300 every year. They swim in the sea and leap into boats to grab fishermen, or pounce on honey-gatherers and woodcutters in the forest. Montgomery (Walking With the Great Apes) made three trips to Sundarbans to study the tigers. She obtained firsthand accounts of killings and discovered that the people regard tigers as magic beings-feared but not hated, worshiped but not loved. The tiger god is called Daksin Ray. Montgomery provides a vivid picture of the coastal forest and its people, and takes us on a magical journey where nature, humans and myth coalesce. (Feb.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781603580595
  • Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing
  • Publication date: 2/15/2009
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 215
  • Sales rank: 781,386
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Sy Montgomery

"Part Indiana Jones, part Emily Dickinson," as the Boston Globe describes her, Sy Montgomery is an author, naturalist, documentary scriptwriter, and radio commentator who has traveled to some of the world's most remote wildernesses for her work. She has worked in a pit crawling with 18,000 snakes in Manitoba, been hunted by a tiger in India, swum with pink dolphins in the Amazon, and been undressed by an orangutan in Borneo. She is the author of 13 award-winning books, including her national best-selling memoir, The Good Good Pig. Montgomery lives in Hancock, New Hampshire.

Good To Know

In our exclusive interview with Montgomery, she revealed a few fun anecdotes:

"My companion pig, Christopher Hogwood, age 12, lost 60 pounds on his new diet and now weighs in at a trim 690 pounds."

"My first known act of Eco-Conscience: I was sent home from kindergarten for biting a little boy who had pulled the legs off a daddy longlegs. I would do it again today."

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    1. Hometown:
      Hancock, New Hampshire
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 7, 1958
    2. Place of Birth:
      Frankfurt, Germany
    1. Education:
      Syracuse University: B.A., Newhouse School of Public Communications, 1979; B.A., College of Arts and Sciences, 1979

Table of Contents

Introduction
A Note on Spelling and Pronunciation
Sundarbans: A First Encounter 1
With an Open Mouth 4
The Songs of Rabindranath 16
The Tiger is Watching 35
Yesterday 53
The Sacred Breath of God 72
Tiger Tracer 88
Bonobibi Puja 105
Lost 120
Tiger God of the Jungle 142
Possession 163
Between Heaven and Earth 182
As if it Had Fire in it 200
Dreams of Tigers 215
Epilogue: The Kali Yuga 220
Bibliography 225
Acknowledgments 229
To Help Save the Tiger 231
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