cover image The Art of Patience: Seeking the Snow Leopard in Tibet

The Art of Patience: Seeking the Snow Leopard in Tibet

Sylvain Tesson, trans. from the French by Frank Wynne. Penguin Press, $26 (224p) ISBN 978-0-593-29628-8

Travel writer Tesson (The Consolations of the Forest) follows the elusive snow leopard through cliffs and mountains in this lyrical survey. As Tesson and his fellow travelers quietly wait to catch a glimpse of the creature in the mountains of Tibet, Tesson muses on nature, wildlife, movement, and eventually humankind (on his travel companions: "I was beginning to understand that in the contemplation of animals one is confronted with an inverted image of oneself"). The narrative builds slowly—it is, after all, mostly about waiting—though the lyricism helps pass the time while waiting for the leopard to show up. Occasionally, the author's aphorisms strike as melodramatic, as when he asserts while watching a wolf hunt antelopes, "Life seemed to me to be an unending series of attacks, and the landscape, apparently unchanging, a backdrop to murders perpetrated at every level of biology." And when the leopard finally appears, it's a "religious apparition." Nevertheless, the promise of seeing the rare creature in the wild may be a strong enough hook for some. Patient nature-minded readers should check this out. Agent: Valerie Borchardt, Georges Borchardt, Inc. (July)