Friday, June 14, 2013

From turtles to water-beetles

While I'm busy collecting turtle stories--go leave yours in the comments to Wednesday's post!--I'll share another passage from Russell Hoban's Turtle Diary. This one is from Neara's diary, written after a session of watching her pet water-beetle:
It was past three in the morning and I was staring into the green murk of Madame Beetle's tank. The plants are all shrouded in long green webs of algae, there are white and ghostly bits of old meat hanging about blooming with mould, the sides of the tank are very dim. It's like the setting for a tiny horror film but Madame Beetle doesn't seem to mind. I can't think now how it could have occurred to me that I might write a story about her. Who am I to use the mystery of her that way? Her swimming is better than my writing and she doesn't expect to get paid for it. If someone were to buy me, have me shipped in a tin with air-holes, what would I be a specimen of?
I don't know the answer to that, but I do know that, as her eventual partner in well-meaning crime, William G., points out, she would be the source of Neara soup.

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