Monday, 3 March 2008

Of Books, Frogs and Memes

I've just finished reading You Darkness by Mayra Montera. Its a book of frogs, zombies and violence, beautifully written but not easy to read. Victor an American herpetologist (zoologist who studies reptiles and amphibians) and his Haitian field assistant Thierry are searching for the almost extinct Blood Frog. They are constantly in danger because of the violence that is around in the rural areas of Haiti at the time. There is an almost palpable sense of this oppressive atmosphere in the book. The narrative of the story is broken up with information about endangered species of frogs and toads.

I became angry at the behaviour of the herpetologists. Here they are searching for a dying species and what do they want to do? Measure it, photograph it and set it free to hopefully find a mate, breed and have some sort of a future as a species? No they want to pickle it and take it back to the lab to dissect, which needless to say isn't going to directly prevent extinction....

Poet with a Day Job tagged me with the book meme:

1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.

So here is the appropriate passage from You Darkness:

He shook my hand and asked me to sit down, then he began to talk about frogs, he sketched a few on his little slate and asked me if I recognised any of them. Later he took out a photo of a slimy toad all covered with warts, I knew the creature very well, we talked about its poison for a while and I told him what the fishermen in Jeremie always said, that this toad was the mother of all toads. Papa Crapaud started to laugh and said he felt like their father, that was when I though "Papa Crapaud" and then I said it out loud. "You can call me that if you want to!". He shook my hand and told me to go back to Jeremie and find him a nice little house where he could keep his things.

I know this meme is doing the rounds at the minute, so I'm not going to tag anyone, but if you feel like doing it, consider yourself tagged! Edited to add, people who considered themselves tagged are: Kamsin at Fearfully Made

Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect has been Leaping into Books about Frogs

Visit Amphibian Ark to find out more about the International Year of the Frog. Please join in their campaign. Between a third and half of all known amphibians are threatened with extinction. They need our help.


Anonymous said...

How often can you write a sentence with the words "It's a book of frogs, zombies and violence"! Not sure I'll be rushing out to read it, or from this if you really enjoyed it? I might join in with that meme though!

Crafty Green Poet said...

You're right there Fearfully made, its quite a striking sentence! I did enjoy the book, but it did make me angry!

Crafty Green Poet said...

Fearfully Made - PS let me know if you do the meme!

Janice Thomson said...

Recently in Burn's Bog in Vancouver studies have been made about the frog since about 60% of them are now mal-formed and the species has dwindled drastically. It is believed toxic waste is one cause as well as human activity. This is one of the largest natural peat bogs in the world. When an eco-system falls apart apparently frogs are one of the first species to show the effects. Hopefully these little guys were not dissected though on the show there was no indication of how these studies were conducted.

Vincent said...

I have never responded to a meme before and i think it is supposed to be on my blog, but I will do it here instead, if you don't mind.

"Not only was their gold stolen, but it was in buried in such a position as placed it under the protection of their own communal honour, and the household of their enemy was secured against their active and righteous malice, because the Thin Woman of Inis MaGrath belonged to the most powerful Shee in Ireland. It is in circumstances such as these that dangerous alliances are made, and for the first time in history, the elemental beings invoked bourgeois assistance.

"They were loath to do it, and justice must record the fact. They were angry when they did it, and anger is both mental and intuitive blindness."

I shall not say what the book is. The extract contains clues enough.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Janice - that's so sad.

Vincent, I'm supposed to know this aren't I? Shamefully at the moment I can't think...

goatman said...

I have to agree: sometimes "scientists" are too into the collection more than the actual situation.
I'm not much into memes but the book/page/paragraph sequence is original and interesting. Plod on, dear blogger.

WH said...

I'd be cheesed at the herpatologist too!

Deb G said...

Interesting sounding book. Thanks for the feedback on my frog. I had to put my frog up somewhere high. I was afraid the dogs would eat him.

By the way, I'm going to do the meme.