TURTLE DIARY by Russell Hoban
Kirkus Star


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"Funny," says George Fairbairn, keeper of the giant turtles in a London aquarium, to William G., "you're the second this week that's asked me about turtle transport." That other is children's author Neaera H., also, like William G., middle-aged and miserable, and also unhappily aware that she is going to find a way to return the imprisoned creatures to the sea. In their alternating diary entries--playful, sardonic, sauced with self-pity--the two strangers contemplate their quest, inevitably joint once they meet. "There is no place for me to find," writes Neaera gloomily, "there is a drive in them to find something." William moves on the same track: "A turtle doesn't have to decide every morning whether to keep on bothering, it just carries on." So two lonely people transport the turtles, with George's help, off to the sea in a van--a gigantic bother but with a joyful moment or two as the mission is accomplished. Then the morning-after letdown and the realization that "You can't do it with turtles." But there is a happy ending as Neaera welcomes George into her life and her bed, and William, who literally fights his way into the friendship of an untidy fellow boarding-house tenant, inadvertently discovers he doesn't really mind being alive. Festooned with swags of farce and wit, this is nonetheless a fairly convincing topographical survey of the despondent slough of the middle years and the games of touch and go which can lead one to happy vistas or the open sea. Immensely entertaining.
Pub Date: Feb. 26th, 1975
ISBN: 0747548315
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1975


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