Synopses & Reviews
Bringing a unique perspective and a singular voice to contemporary fiction, A Tortoise for the Queen of Tonga
features lush, poignant stories about the natural world. Here are mammals, historical figures, everyday people who discover the liberating properties of memory and knowledge in the face of captivity and loneliness.
We meet a forlorn tortoise forced to live among humans. We witness orcas at Ocean World staging a revolt, using celibacy as their weapon. In a French cave, a young computer animator draws parallels between Cro-Magnon and modern women. One story even travels to heaven, where Charles Darwin seeks the source of human happiness. Whitty joins her authority about wildlife and her rich imagination to spectacular effect. Drawing on twenty years' experience with making nature documentaries, she takes readers inside the minds of animals and people struggling to overcome their limitations.
In a voice as magical as it is informed, A Tortoise for the Queen of Tonga bridges the mythical and the mundane, the animal and the human. Julia Whitty is a brilliant new storyteller in American short fiction.
"[A] solid collection that demonstrates a devotion to the natural world rarely seen in contemporary fiction." Publishers Weekly
"Whitty impels the stories in her first collection through historic eras and the present time, illuminating the struggles of all living things, animal and human." Library Journal
About the Author
Julia Whitty's short fiction has appeared in Harper's, Story, Ploughshares, The Gettysburg Review, Virginia Quarterly Review and other magazines. The title story of this collection won an O. Henry Award, the Bernice Slot Award for Fiction, and was nominated for a National Magazine Award in 1999. She writes regularly for Harper's, The New Yorker, and other magazines. Whitty has also written and produced over fifty documentaries for PBS (including "National Geographic" and "Nature"), the BBC, NHK, and the Arts & Entertainment Network. Her films have been nominated for and won Emmy Awards, Cable Ace awards, CINE Golden Eagles Awards, Golden Apple Awards, Houston International Film Festival Awards, and numerous international awards and honors.
Table of Contents
A Tortoise for the Queen of Tonga 1
Lucifer's Alligator 26
The Story of the Deep Dark 39
Jimmy Under Water 51
The Daguerreotype 68
Falling Umbrella 80
Darwin in Heaven 96
Stealing from the Dead 117
Senti's Last Elephant 138
The Dreams of Dogs 162