From National Book Award finalist for The Soul of an Octopus and New York Times bestseller Sy Montgomery comes an ode to one of the most diverse, fascinating, and beloved species on the planet: turtles. With elegance, journalistic curiosity, and gorgeous artwork, this nonfiction investigation speaks to the wonder and wisdom of our long-lived cohabitants, who reveal to us astonishing new perspectives on time and healing.
OF TIME AND TURTLES:
Mending a Stalled and Broken World, Shell by Shattered Shell
by Sy Montgomery
illustrated by Matt Patterson
Mariner/HarperCollins, September 2023
When acclaimed naturalist Sy Montgomery and wildlife artist Matt Patterson arrive at Turtle Rescue League, they are greeted by hundreds of turtles recovering from injury and illness. Endangered by cars and highways, pollution and poachers, these turtles—with wounds so severe that even veterinarians would have dismissed them as fatal—are given a second chance at life. The League’s founders, Natasha and Alexxia, live by one motto: Never give up on a turtle.
But why turtles? What is it about them that inspires such devotion? Ancient and unhurried, long-lived and majestic, their lineage stretches back to the time of the dinosaurs. Some live to two hundred years, or longer. Others spend months buried under cold winter water. Sy turns to these little understood yet endlessly surprising creatures to probe the eternal question: How can we make peace with our time?
In pursuit of the answer, Sy and Matt immerse themselves in the delicate work of protecting turtle nests, incubating eggs, rescuing sea turtles, and releasing hatchlings to their homes in the wild. We follow the snapping turtle Fire Chief on his astonishing journey as he battles against injuries incurred by a truck.
Hopeful and optimistic, OF TIME AND TURTLES is an antidote to the instability of our frenzied world. Elegantly blending science, memoir, philosophy, and drawing on cultures from across the globe, this compassionate portrait of injured turtles and their determined rescuers invites us all to slow down and slip into turtle time.
Includes a signature of photos of the cast (both turtles and humans) plus stunning, photo-realistic full color paintings by artist Matt Patterson.
Researching her articles, films, scripts, and 33 books, National Book Award finalist Sy Montgomery has scuba-dived with sharks, cuddled with octopuses, slept next to a mother hippo and her baby, and been undressed by a wild orangutan. To inform this book, she and artist Matt Patterson helped rescue cold-stunned sea turtles on Cape Cod, raised baby painted turtles for release into the wild, and provided physical therapy for an injured, 42-pound wild snapping turtle named Fire Chief. They still regularly patrol a nesting site for native New England turtles against predators and volunteer at Turtle Rescue League in southern Massachusetts.