The Dragon Behind the Glass: A True Story of Power, Obsession, and the World’s Most Coveted Fish

Emily Voigt. Scribner, $26 (336p) ISBN 978-1-4516-7894-9
The Asian arowana, also known as the dragon fish, ranks among the world’s most expensive aquarium fish, and in this engaging tale of obsession and perseverance, journalist Voigt chronicles her effort to study and understand its appeal. The fish is a symbol of luck and status in Asia, where one albino specimen fetched $150,000 in 2002. Its place on the endangered list makes it illegal to traffic or own in the U.S. Voigt calls it “the most dramatic example of a uniquely modern paradox—the mass-produced endangered species.” Voigt’s travels take her deep into Borneo and Myanmar, where she interacts with colorful, capricious characters such as Heiko Bleher, the “Indiana Jones of the tropical fish industry,” and renowned ichthyologist Tyson Roberts. Through Voigt initially just wants to see the elusive arowana in the wild, she succumbs to the lure of the unknown and thrill of the hunt. Attempting to track down a previously unstudied species, she “began to suspect that [her] relationship with the arowana was not 100 percent healthy.” Voigt’s passion in pursuing her subject is infectious, as is the self-depreciating humor she injects into her enthralling look at the intersection of science, commercialism, and conservationism. Maps & photos. Agent: Abigail Koons, Park Literary Group. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/11/2016
Release date: 05/24/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-5159-0565-3
Hardcover - 978-1-4516-7896-3
MP3 CD - 978-1-5159-5565-8
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-1-4516-7895-6
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