Journey of the Pink Dolphins: An Amazon Quest

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9780743200264: Journey of the Pink Dolphins: An Amazon Quest

Scientists call them Inia geoffrensis, an ancient species of toothed whale whose origin dates back about 15 million years. To the local people of the Amazon, pink river dolphins are "botos," shape shifters that, in the guise of human desire, can claim your soul and take you to the Encante, an enchanted underwater world. As tributaries braid into a single river, Journey of the Pink Dolphins weaves ancient myth and modern science into one woman's search for these elusive creatures. Over four separate journeys, Sy Montgomery follows the dolphins, tracing their spiritual, historical, and environmental past, present, and future. Ancient legends tell us that dolphins have guided humans for millennia, and in Journey of the Pink Dolphins, Montgomery answers their call, taking us to that perfect place where the Amazon melts into the forest, dolphins swim among treetops, and the twenty-first century dissolves into the beginning of time.

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Review:

Pink dolphins--and yes, in the Amazon River the flamingo-colored mammals do exist--are believed by Brazilians and Peruvians to take human form, impregnate women, lure lovers to an underwater paradise, and in various ways drive those who encounter them mad. They seem to have worked their magic on science writer Sy Montgomery, who journeys through rain forests and sunken cities in a mad-dash pursuit of the enigmatic creatures.

Despite encounters with piranha-filled waters, toxic ants, and large rats--not to mention boat failures, foreign language problems, and alternate blasts of sun and rain--the persistent Montgomery pushes happily on, offering a lyrical account as intoxicating as the subject itself. She eventually makes contact, swimming with them, even holding one in her arms, but that may be the least relevant aspect of the entire book. Montgomery turns nature into a bewildering drug, opening doors into cultural and biological worlds invisible to most, but which teem with as much unseen life as a drop of river water held under a microscope. --Melissa Rossi

About the Author:

Sy Montgomery, who writes a nature column for The Boston Globe, is a commentator for National Public Radio's Living on Earth and is the author of five heralded books, Spell of the Tiger, Walking with the Great Apes, Nature's Everyday Mysteries, Seasons of the Wild, and The Snake Scientist, a book for young readers. She lives in New Hampshire.

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Montgomery, Sy
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Montgomery, Sy
Published by Simon & Schuster (2001)
ISBN 10: 0743200268 ISBN 13: 9780743200264
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