429 pages, Maps
Asia in the twenty-first century as China's shadow grows, Asia poised on the edge of change – and a woman exploring its threatened jungles for the animal they call the soul of Asia. Is this the tiger's last moment before extinction or can it be saved? Who is trying to save it, and how? Are there any tigers left, and if so, where?
After ending a long relationship, award-winning poet Ruth Padel finds herself inexplicably drawn to the great animal solitary; potent, myth-laden, and now gravely endangered. She comes across an advert for a cheap trip to India and visits a tiger reserve. So begins a remarkable journey, and an obsession. With her granny's opera glasses and a pair of cheap Tunisian trainers, asking how and where do tigers live and what are their chances, she plunges into tiger myths, tiger dreams, and leech-infested jungles.
"Illuminating this extraordinary travel-memoir is a Rimbaud-esque quest for the essence of ferocity. This is no mere gutsy travelogue but a poet's attempt to do what the scientist does, 'Say precisely what and how you saw'. This is the poet as super-naturalist, always giving more than her best, no-holds-barred, for that flash of the sublime."
"Tigers in Red Weather describes an extraordinary quest for the tiger in its forest home and in the human imagination. Padel is not a descendant of Charles Darwin for nothing. Her curiosity is daring and rigorous, her language eloquent. This is not only a superb portrait of Asian tiger country, but also of the fears and longings that the tiger creates in human hearts"
- Helen Dunmore
"Tigers in Red Weather is a beautifully strange and personal travel book, one that might bring Joan Didion or Bruce Chatwin to mind, a book about love and survival that reads like a well-tuned poem. Ruth Padel has never written better, and that's saying something."
- Colm Toibin
"I loved the book. But with shock, despair and urgency it zeroes in on the greatest wildlife tragedy and scandal of our times, the tiger's last-ditch battle for survival in the wild. Here are passionate, brutally honest dispatches from that struggle's bloodsoaked front lines"
- Mark Shand
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Ruth Padel is an award-winning poet, journalist and broadcaster – and the great, great granddaughter of Charles Darwin. She lives in North London with her daughter.