A remote ranger station in the wilds of South Africa's Krger National Park provides the landscape for this memoir of the 17 years that the author, her game warden husband and their daughters lived in the bush amid the big cats and other exotic fauna of this idyllic region. Whether she's recounting a near-slapstick encounter with a creeping python in the bedroom on the family's first night in the backcountry, the nocturnal calls of a prowling local leopard, continual and scary confrontations with a grumpy hippo or a raging bull elephant's death charge, Krger's sturdy and unadorned prose is well suited to the book's natural setting. The animal anecdotes tumble across the pages, at a pace that will engage readers who enjoy natural history and plainspoken yarns; indeed, the book hit #1 in South Africa. Meanwhile, the adversities of a stifling climate, jungle diseases and ornery vipers provide grim balance to the more uplifting adventures recounted here. The land, its creatures and its unchanging laws of survival serve as mentors to the author and her family, and lead the reader toward deeper insights about life beyond the furthest reaches of civilization. For instance, the poignant episode of raising an orphan lion cub into adulthood becomes a lesson in responsibility, freedom and loss for the girls and their mother. The wilderness depicted in this book, is by turns, a demanding teacher and a provider of wondrous gifts. Illus. and photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
Kruger, the wife of a South African game warden, raised her three daughters at remote ranger stations in Kruger National Park in the 1980s and 1990s. First they lived in near-complete isolation at Mahlangeni, where the author communed with her many wild pets while her daughters were at boarding school during the week. It was difficult for her to reenter society at their next station, which was relatively populated, but she quickly found her life dominated by raising an orphan lion cub named Leo. Ultimately, the affectionate Leo had to be relocated to a reserve for captive-bred lions, a break felt bitterly by both big cat and woman. Kr ger shows a strong anthropomorphic streak in her tales of animals, both wild and domesticated, but this is part of her charm. She has a wonderful flare for anecdote and gently humorous stories, such as the day her rugged husband, swelling from a snake bite, could not be budged from his chair to go to the hospital. This book will appeal to fans of James Herriot, Gerald Durrell, Joy Adamson, and anyone interested in wild Africa. A best seller in South Africa, it is highly recommended for public and academic libraries.
- Beth Crim, Prince William P.L., VA
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.