25 October 2012

Among the Islands; Tim Flannery

Among the Islands: Adventures in the PacificAmong the Islands: Adventures in the Pacific by >Tim Flannery
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This really should have been a 5-star, but the writing was so odd and at times confusing that it quickly dropped from that level.

Flannery has, over the past two-three decades, studied mammals in many of the Pacific islands.  By "mammals" he means rats and bats, some quite large and some quite small.  That part is really fascinating, particularly when the different species are described (who knew that bats could have orange fur?).  The problem comes when the descriptions are truncated, assuming that readers know what a wallaby looks like, among other species.

The travels and adventures part is also oddly truncated, with several trips elided; the timeline isn't always clear and sometimes there needs to be more clarity about who and when.  It also doesn't help that this needs a firm editorial hand, cleaning up some of the convoluted sentences and pronouns.  Here's an example - we all know that landmasses move, and that there are different reasons for them moving (plates shifting, volcanic action, etc.).  But despite a long explanation about how species evolution can either lead to dwarfs or giants, there's nothing about timelines and when he then talks about islands that used to be joined "recently"...

This could, based on the writing, have been a 2 but the mammal hunting and adventures kept it from dropping that low.

ARC provided by publisher.

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