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Unspotted: One Man’s Obsessive Search for Africa’s Most Elusive Leopard Paperback – February 21, 2017
About the Author
Justin Fox is a travel writer, novelist and editor based in Cape Town. He was a Rhodes Scholar and received a doctorate in English from Oxford University after which he became a research fellow at the University of Cape Town, where he now teaches part time. His articles and photographs have appeared internationally in a number of publications and on a wide range of topics, while his short stories and poems have appeared in various anthologies. He is a two-time Mondi journalism award winner (1999 and 2004). His recent books include The Marginal Safari (Umuzi, 2010), nominated for the 2011 Alan Paton Award for non-fiction and the 2012 Olive Schreiner Prize for Literature, and a not-so-swashbuckling pirate novel, Whoever Fears the Sea (Umuzi, 2014), longlisted for the Etisalat Prize for Literature.
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Top customer reviews
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If I am to be perfectly honest this isn't the sort of story that I would usually pick up. Not because it is non-fiction, but because wildlife preservation isn't something that I am all that into.
However, I thought that it sounded interesting and decided that I would give it a chance. I am glad I did.
I really enjoyed the author's writing style; a few times I even laughed to myself. His descriptions kept you reading to see what his next amusing comment would be.
And example of this: "... like a cross between a leopard and a daisy.'
Or perhaps this one, "The vehicle bounced over boulders like an inebriated frog."
This read like a novel, flowing together well and doing a wonderful job of keeping one's attention. It was very informative about the Cape Mountain Leopard as well as the ecology of the place. What I particularly liked, however, was not just the entire story of the author's search for the Cape Mountain Leopard, but I was actually very interested in learning about life on the conservation as well as how the leopard traps and tracking devices worked. I like learning new things, and I certainly learned a lot from reading this.
Perhaps I should now inform my friends about how one goes about trapping a leopard....
This 40 page story was very interesting, especially for one (me) who knew virtually nothing about wildlife preservation before taking it up. The writing and descriptions were fabulous; along with the story they kept you reading. I would definitely recommend this to anyone, particularly if you are interested in the preservation of wildlife or even if you are just interested in learning new things.
The way he feels about these majestic animals is clear from the very beginning and his excitement over sightings and the knowledge he gains during his exploration bring life to the book, getting the reader excited as well. If you are curious about what it takes to learn about and make a difference to an entire species, this book will offer that insight.
Overall, I thought this was very well written and would recommend it to others, even those who don't tend to read non-fiction.
This review is based on a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
**Originally written for "Books and Pals" book blog. May have received a free review copy. **
I really enjoyed Fox’s writing. He was able to put you in the moment with his descriptions. For example, “[t]he vehicle bounced over boulders like an inebriated frog” (p. 9) or “[a] leopard could have been standing six feet away and I’d have dismissed it as retina malfunction” (p. 21). Like I said, my only complaint was I wanted more. If you like nonfiction and are willing to try something a little shorter than usual, I highly recommend this story.
The writing is really what makes this--it could easily have been a boring academic paper, but it truly feels a bit like a mystery, or chase thriller in the way it's written. At 40 pages, it's a quick read, and an enjoyable one at that.
This is a shorter book (novella length?) but it works well for the story. I think this book would be a great one for middle/highschool readers as well.
I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.