Spell of the Tiger: The Man-Eaters of Sundarbans

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Spell of the tiger tells us all about the peculiar relationship between tigers and their human prey. Sy Montgomery tells us how it feels to know that as a human being you are, to the tiger, merely a source of meat.
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Overview

Spell of the tiger tells us all about the peculiar relationship between tigers and their human prey. Sy Montgomery tells us how it feels to know that as a human being you are, to the tiger, merely a source of meat.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

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.)
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
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780395791509
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 3/1/1996
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.51 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.69 (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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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2006

    Peculiar as the tiger

    In the peculiar area known as the Sunderbans, the tiger is the superior life form, not Homo Sapiens. In that mangrove swamp region of the world, they just regard us as another form of meat. Why do they? That's what Sy Montgomery tried to do is this enchanting, quick-reading book on the subject of maneating tigers in the Sunderbans. Maneating tigers that almost verge on the supernatural in their tenacity to get humans and ferocity without being killed. Montgomery arrives where she left off: why? These tigers have absolutely no fear of man and are incredibly smart, so you would think by now they would think of man as bad, but they haven't. Also included are interesting insights into Hindi religion particular to this region and Hindi-Muslim/Bangladeshi relations.

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