Our directory of things of interest

University Directory

THE TUSK THAT DID THE DAMAGE by Tania James

  • Written by  Mick Herron
  • Published in Books
THE TUSK THAT DID THE DAMAGE by Tania James
01 Mar
2015
It’s a dangerous business, adopting an animal’s viewpoint – sentimentality is never more than a hair’s breadth away

But Tania James skirts that pitfall with aplomb in her novel about the Gravedigger, the name bestowed on an elephant who turns killer, after his mother is butchered by poachers.Further cruelties tip him over the edge into a form of animal madness: after trampling his victims, he covers their bodies with leaves.

The other threads belong to Manu, whose ambition to be chief manager of a bank is derailed when tragedy strikes his family, and Emma Lewis, an American filmmaker documenting elephant behaviour. Manu’s brother, Jayan, is a convicted poacher who finds himself drawn back into the sordid world of elephant hunting by the Gravedigger’s murderous exploits. Emma, too, is on unstable ground. The elephants she is filming interact, she notes, ‘on a plane we could only glimpse indirectly’, but her own relationships with humans are equally confused and complex. None of the characters come away unscathed, though the precise nature of their fates is cleverly concealed until the final few pages.

The Tusk That Did The Damage is a remarkably accomplished novel and covers a lot of ground in relatively few pages, largely because of James’ ability to switch registers, from the earthy to the lyrical, with ease.

THE TUSK THAT DID THE DAMAGE by Tania James, Harvill Secker, £12.99 (hb)

This review was published in the March 2015 edition of Geographical Magazine

Subscribe to Geographical!

geo line break v3

Free eBooks - Geographical Newsletter

Sign up for our weekly newsletter today and get a FREE eBook collection!

geo line break v3

University of Winchester

geo line break v3

EDUCATION PARTNERS

Aberystwyth University University of Greenwich The University of Derby

TRAVEL PARTNERS

Ponant

Silversea

Travel the Unknown

DOSSIERS

Like longer reads? Try our in-depth dossiers that provide a comprehensive view of each topic

  • Natural Capital: Putting a price on nature
    Natural capital is a way to quantify the value of the world that nature provides for us – the air, soils, water, even recreational activity. Advocat...
    The human game – tackling football’s ‘slave trade’
    Few would argue with football’s position as the world’s number one sport. But as Mark Rowe discovers, this global popularity is masking a sinister...
    Essential oil?
    Palm oil is omnipresent in global consumption. But in many circles it is considered the scourge of the natural world, for the deforestation and habita...
    Alien views
    The tabloids would have us believe that immigrants are taking our houses, our jobs, our school places and our hospital beds. But a close reading of th...
    The Money Trail
    Remittance payments are a fundamental, yet often overlooked, part of the global economy. But the impact on nations receiving the money isn’t just a ...

MORE DOSSIERS

NEVER MISS A STORY - Follow Geographical on Social

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in REVIEWS...

Books

by William A. Ewing and Holly Roussell • Thames and…

Books

by Ben Coates • Nicholas Brealey Publishing • £12.99 (paperback)

Books

by Nicholas Crane • Weidenfeld & Nicolson • £12.99 (hardback)

Books

by Mary Robinson • Bloomsbury • £16.99 (hardback)

Books

by Pieter van der Merwe and Jeremy Michell • Bloomsbury • £18.99…

Books

by Simon Reeve • Hodder & Stoughton • £20 (hardback)

Books

by Michael Palin • Hutchinson • £20 (hardback/eBook)

Films

Powerful expedition film, screened at the 2018 Adventure Uncovered Film…

Books

by Laura Locker and Julia Scheele • Icon Books • £12.99 (paperback)

Books

by Patrick Nunn • Bloomsbury • £16.99 (hardback) • £14.99 (eBook)

Books

by Oliver Bullough • Profile Books • £20 (hardback) • £14.99 (eBook)

Books

by Thomas Reinertsen Berg • Hodder & Stoughton • £25 (hardback)

Books

by Adam Rutherford • Weidenfeld & Nicolson • £18.99 (hardback) • £9.99 (eBook)

Films

Ever since 1984, when the first TED conference took place,…

Exhibitions

Annual photography competition at the Natural History Museum celebrates the…

Exhibitions

We all have to live with buildings, but getting the…

Books

by Bruno Latour • Polity Books • £12.99 (hardback)

Books

edited by Fearghal O’Nuallain • Summersdale • £9.99 (paperback)

Books

by Francis Fukuyama • Profile Books • £16.99 (hardback) • £14.99 (eBook)