Wednesday, January 25, 2012 |
Our resident blogger is now a radio star! Every Wednesday until the Canada Reads debates, Terry Fallis is stopping by Here and Now Toronto to discuss the final five books.
This week, Terry talked about The Tiger by John Vaillant with Here and Now host Laura Di Battista. Listen to their complete conversation in the audio player below.
The Tiger is the shocking true tale of a man-eating Siberian tiger on the prowl in Primorye. a sparsely populated region of Russia that borders China. Illegal tiger poaching is a major source of income for the area's impoverished residents. In his book, Vaillant describes the tiger's attacks, and follows a team of hunters as they try to track it down. In the process, he raises big questions about man's relationship with nature.
Vaillant's book was inspired by the documentary film Conflict Tiger by Sasha Snow. The Tiger won a number of literary prizes, including the B.C. National Book Award for Non-Fiction.
If that's not enough, A-list movie star Brad Pitt bought the film rights.And Terry doesn't blame him for it. The Tiger is a fresh, new -- and true! -- spin on the old man versus beast battle."It turns the traditional big game paradigm hunter on its head," he says. "In this story, the predator has become the prey and the hunter becomes the hunted."
Terry appreciated this twist, and found himself, unexpectedly, rooting for the tiger. "You do find yourself into the tiger's perspective," he says. "I just didn't know that the tiger had such a brain on him, that he could act out of vengeance."
However, the issues at hand at much more complex than simply a tiger seeking revenge. The poachers the tiger is after are struggling to survive in post-Communist Russia. They are hungry, poor and looking for work, and even though hunting tigers is illegal, the hefty sum their hides fetch is too enticing to ignore.
"You learn about the collapse of the economy, you learn about the cultural changes, you learn about anthropology," Terry says. "You learn about the history of the tiger in the area."
As a reader, Terry enjoyed this, but he can't help but wonder if these tangents will be The Tiger's downfall.
"It's very different."
Want more of Terry's thoughts about The Tiger and its chances to win the Canada Reads crown? Check out his blog post about John's book.