The Art of Patience sees the renowned French adventurer and writer set off for the high plateaux of remotest Tibet in search of the elusive snow leopard. There, in the company of leading wildlife photographer Vincent Munier and two companions, at 5,000 metres and in temperatures of -25ºC, the team set up their hides on exposed mountainsides, and occasionally in the luxury of an icy cave, to await a visitation from the almost mythical beast.
This tightly focused and tautly written narrative is simultaneously a dazzling account of an exacting journey, an apprenticeship in the art of patience, an acceptance of the ruthlessness of the natural world and, finally, a plea for ecological sanity. A small masterpiece, it is one of those books that demands to be read again and again.
Originally published in French in 2019 as La Panthère des Neiges.
Sylvain Tesson is one France's leading travel and nature writers, whose books have won him hundreds and thousands of readers in France and a number of its top prizes, including the 2019 Prix Renaudot for The Art of Patience. His highly regarded Consolations of the Forest was published in English in 2014.
Frank Wynne is an Irish literary translator whose translations, including works by Michel Houllebecq, Frédéric Beigbeder and Pierre Lemaitre, have won him a number of prizes. His translation of Virginie Despentes's Vernon Subutex 1 was shortlisted for the 2018 Booker International Prize.
– Winner of the Prix Renaudot 2019
– A New York Times Best Book of 2021
"A wonderful evocation of waiting and watching for nature."
– Tim Birkhead, author of Bird Sense
"Beautifully written, beautifully translated, intensely moving and totally absorbing."
– Stanley Johnson, author of Where the Wild Things Were
"The Art of Patience is extraordinarily beautiful, a narrative of prose that flows with poetry, a long last loving glance at the planet, a visit to the vital bedside of a living world determined to stay alive."
– Carl Safina, author of Becoming Wild: How Animals Learn to be Animals
"In The Art of Patience: Seeking the Snow Leopard in Tibet, the French writer Sylvain Tesson chronicles his rapturous journey through Tibet's Chantang plateau with the wildlife photographer Vincent Munier. Tesson's words, in a ravishing translation by Frank Wynne, paint pictures as vivid as any photograph."
– Liesl Schillinger, New York Times, 'Best Books of 2021', Travel
"Tesson is a transcendent travel writer [...] [The Art of Patience] inspires action, thought, silence – and perhaps also prayer."
– BBC Countryfile Magazine, Best Books of 2021
"I found it hard to resist [...] there is so much more to this elegantly written book than the story of a search. It is also a philosophical consideration of the benefits of silence, waiting and personal reflection; an ode to the psychological effect of natural beauty; and a poetic eulogy to the planet."
– Big Issue