The Lion Tracker’s Guide to Life

Boyd Varty. HMH, $20 (160p) ISBN 978-0-358-09977-2
Tracker and safari guide Varty (Cathedral of the Wild), who feels people have “lost contact with something more instinctual, more innate,” suggests the ancient practice of tracking as a means to attain “essential knowledge,” in his propulsive and cinematic memoir-cum-guide. Grounding the narrative in a single day of tracking within the Londolozi Game Reserve in eastern South Africa, Varty introduces methods of awareness (“a shift in mental consciousness that in the East would come from meditation... here in Africa comes from the oneness of the trail”) for homing in on the “first track” (which he equates to concentrating on “small practical actions” in one’s daily life), and ideas for what to do when the track is lost (“track what makes you feel good and bring more of it into your life”). For readers not living in the bush, Varty’s brief self-help lessons will feel awkwardly grafted to his tale of venturing out alongside his fellow trackers, Renias and Alex. Renias, who is of Sangaan heritage, is “the tracker who is called upon when the other trackers lose the trail,” and Alex, the “great-great-grandson of an Afrikaner,” works under him as the three tracks a lion through the reserve. While the advice here is often too amorphous to be useful, Varty’s memoir does offer an evocative exploration of the nuances of animal tracking. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 09/23/2019
Release date: 10/22/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 978-0-358-10049-2
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