Henry Williamson’s slim study of otters is a masterpiece of limpid writing and of human empathy for other species. Through minute observation and honest intent, he has cleaved as closely as he can to conveying an authentic sense of what it might be like to live an otter’s life.

A key element, as for other wild animals, is the constant search for food, and the unrelenting experience of hunger. Here Tarka zooms all senses on a potential feast.

‘His eyes were on it, he smelled it, his mouth filled with eat-water.’

Source: Henry Williamson, Tarka the Otter: His joyful water-life and death in the two rivers, illus. C.F. Tunnicliffe (Harmondsworth: Puffin Books, 1976 (1927)), p. 30

Photo credit: little_arrows at pixabay.com


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