Still Life with Elephant

Still Life with Elephant

by Judy Reene Singer

An audio file of this program is available in mp3 format; click to listen.

I’m Kim Alexander and this is Fiction Nation. The book is Still Life with Elephant by Judy Reene Singer.

What is it about elephants? The wise, long suffering eyes? The graceful, mountainous hulk? Their patient, deliberate nature? Should I even mention baby elephants? How many of you have measured your living room to see if you could adopt an elephant child? Oh, just me, right. Elephants are poised right now between preservation and extinction. I hate to think of a world without them, even if I only see them across fences and enclosures at the zoo, or on TV. Like the ocean, I know they are there.

I don’t know why people are magnetically attracted to certain animals, but they are also out there — you know them —┬áhorse people, parrot people, elephant people. Now, that can go badly, and turn into making little outfits for your cat, but its good news when that passion gets turned outward into a creative project like the novel Still Life with Elephant. Judy Reene Singer combines her two special creatures — horses and elephants — into a story of trust and love lost and found. Neelie, our heroine, is betrayed and hurt by her husband much the way her elephant charge has been injured by poachers. Together, slowly, they rebuild their lives. (And the baby elephant Abbie almost destroyed me with the cuteness.) It’s a little bit of a fairy tale, with the healing power of jelly doughnuts and the intervention of a dashing, eligible millionaire, but hey, I think sometime stories should have a happy ending.

Judy mentions two outstanding organizations in our conversation. The first is in Kenya, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust at www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org. See if you can read the story of orphaned baby Dida and keep a dry eye!

The second is in Tennessee, and it’s at www.elephants.com — they have an Elecam!


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