Harper Academic

Of Time and Turtles

Mending the World, Shell by Shattered Shell

by Sy Montgomery, Matt Patterson

On Sale: 09/17/2024

Price: $21.99

Of Time and Turtles

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Of Time and Turtles

Mending the World, Shell by Shattered Shell

by Sy Montgomery, Matt Patterson

On Sale: 09/17/2024


Price: $21.99

About the Book


"Montgomery's heart-tugging conversations with teammates and her commitment to helping an octogenarian named Fire Chief reveal turtles to be perfect conduits for meditations on aging, disability and chosen family.” —Scientific American

National Book Award finalist for The Soul of an Octopus and New York Times bestseller Sy Montgomery turns her journalistic curiosity to the wonder and wisdom of our long-lived cohabitants—turtles—and through their stories of hope and rescue, reveals to us astonishing new perspectives on time and healing. For fans of The Comfort of Crows: A Backyard Year and An Immense World.

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. Montgomery 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, and 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.

  • Perfect gift for nature lovers.
  • Includes a signature of photos plus stunning, photo-realistic full color paintings and black-and-white chapter opener art by wildlife artist Matt Patterson.
  • Read more books by Sy Montgomery such as How to Be a Good Creature and The Soul of an Octopus.
  • Don't miss The Book of Turtles for children.

Critical Praise

★ "An entrancing storyteller who illuminates facts and feelings with sterling precision, Montgomery recounts dramatic and sweet interactions with these 'unlikely, surprising animals,' describing a wondrous array of personalities, including that of the astoundingly resilient, attentive, and gigantic snapper called Fire Chief." — Booklist (starred review)

"Enchanting. Few writers are better than Montgomery at capturing the wonder of animals without taming them. Like all of Montgomery’s work, ‘Of Time and Turtles’ is a book that will make you want to be not a better human but a better animal." — Washington Post

"Montgomery's heart-tugging conversations with teammates and her commitment to helping an octogenarian named Fire Chief reveal turtles to be perfect conduits for meditations on aging, disability and chosen family.” — Scientific American

"A celebration of a magnificent species. Besides conveying the turtle’s amazing longevity and capacity for healing, Montgomery offers vivid portraits of the distinct personalities of patients under the care of the heroic TRL staff. An engaging, informative, and colorful journey into the world of turtles."
Kirkus Reviews

"In this moving outing, Montgomery captures the joy in the team’s successes and the sorrow in their losses and Patterson’s sketches of spotted and painted turtles in their natural habitats delight. An enjoyable account of the everyday travails of dedicated conservationists." — Publishers Weekly

"'Turtles' is very much of a piece with Montgomery's beatific 'The Soul of an Octopus' in its assertion that listening to another species—and using what you learn—is good not just for those creatures but for everyone. A beautiful book—you'll want to savor it (slowly)." — Minneapolis Star Tribune

Of Time and Turtles is a book of miracles, both human and chelonian. We are all lucky to share this earth with turtles, and with Sy Montgomery.” Sabrina Imbler, author of How Far the Light Reaches: A Life in Ten Sea Creatures, on Of Time and Turtles

"Writing from the height of her powers, Sy Montgomery shows us in magnificent and essential ways how much we are connected, even with the most unlikely of animals." — Aimee Nezhukumatathil, author of World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments, on Of Time and Turtles

“Chronic underestimation is all we seem to bestow on reptiles, especially the slow kind. But as Sy Montgomery makes clear, an animal doesn’t need to be fast to fascinating.” Frans de Waal, author of Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?, on Of Time and Turtles  

“Sy Montgomery’s The Soul of an Octopus does for the creature what Helen Macdonald’s H Is for Hawk did for raptors.” — New Statesman

“Sweet moments are at the heart of Montgomery’s compassionate, wise and tender new book…Only a writer of her talent could make readers care about octopuses as individuals…Joins a growing body of literature that asks us to rethink our connection to nonhumans who may be more like us than we had supposed.”  — St. Paul Pioneer Press on The Soul of an Octopus

"A rare jewel, full of empathy and the profound wisdom Sy has received from animals she has loved over her extraordinary lifetime. This sweet book is a triumphant masterpiece that I'm recommending to everyone." — Stacey O'Brien, New York Times bestselling author of Wesley the Owl, on How to Be a Good Creature

"In loving yet unsentimental prose, Sy Montgomery captures the richness that animals bring to the human experience. Sometimes it takes a too-smart-for-his-own-good pig to open our eyes to what most matters in life.” — John Grogan, author of Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog, on The Good Good Pig

“If you’re a bird-lover—or otherwise revel in nature—you’ll appreciate Montgomery’s latest. . . . It’s an informative read that will make you want to go outside and look up into the sky.” — Washington Post on The Hawk’s Way


Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780063394230
  • ISBN 10: 0063394235
  • Imprint: Mariner Books
  • On Sale: 09/17/2024
  • Trimsize: 5.310 in (w) x 8.000 in (h) x 0.710 in (d)
  • Pages: 304
  • List Price: $21.99
  • BISAC1 : NATURE / Environmental Conservation & Protection
  • BISAC2 : NATURE / Animals / Reptiles & Amphibians
  • BISAC3 : SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Zoology / Ichthyology & Herpetology