THE WHITE PUMA by R.D. Lawrence


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Canadian naturalist Lawrence (In Praise of Wolves, The Ghost Walker) turns his hand to fiction with a story of a rare albino puma sought by big-game hunters. It is impossible not to admire the author's richly detailed portrayal of this powerful predator and its mountainous native habitat; but the few human characters here are hastily sketched stereotypes, and the dialogue is often wooden. The story, concerning the animal's pursuit by two commercial hunters and its eventual rescue by naturalists, ends with an unconvincing change of heart by one of the villains. Two often, Lawrence tries to cram expository passages with more detail than the reader needs or can absorb. A particularly annoying mannerism is his apparent inability to mention one species of animal without dragging in a long list of others that fill similar ecological roles--bringing the narrative to a standstill. Lawrence's shortcomings as a novelist notwithstanding, this is nonetheless a fascinating glimpse of the life cycle of a beautiful and little-understood creature, a treat for nature-lovers; others may be less enthralled.

Pub Date: May 9th, 1990
Publisher: Henry Holt