Home Books and Movies Book Review: “The Tourist Trail” is a keeper

In The Tourist Trail, by John Yunker, the author writes in a simple style that in the first pages led me to fear a facile and predictable plot. The Tourist Trail is, after all, a love story, one between a self-effacing biologist, Angela Haynes, involved in penguin research and a rather flamboyant anti-whaling activist, code-named Aeneas. Not too far into the book, I was appreciating the simple style more as clean and spare, and the love story had become two (or maybe more: Haynes’ love for the penguin Diesel was for me one of the most poignant parts of the story.)

The unexpected twists and layers could probably have supported a far longer book. Yunker’s own trip as a volunteer for a penguin census inspired The Tourist Trail, and the book may in turn arouse concern for the evidently enchanting smaller and less well-known penguin species. Nonetheless, I feel that educational opportunities were lost, especially on the subject of the whaling crisis, where so much more could have been said without coming across as either mawkish or didactic. (Warning for the sensitive: skip pages 147 and 148, which recount a particularly disturbing instance of animal cruelty that I cannot help but feel was misplaced, even as the explanation for one of the character’s later life of service.)  All in all, this book was a keeper.

Editors note: Order The Tourist Trail and other eco-literature books through Ashland Creek Press.  Check out the VegLit collection of books as well.


About Franziska Edwards

NARN board member, Franziska Edwards, became a vegetarian the day she adopted her first dog from a shelter in Italy. That dog made her realize that there was no important difference between him and any cow, pig or chicken. She just didn’t KNOW them as individuals. Her first daughter was seven-years-old at the time. Franziska explained why they were not going to eat meat anymore and her daughter was completely on board. It took another year of eating fish before she suddenly realized that in matters of suffering, fish are no different to cows, and she stopped eating seafood, too. Franziska has been a vegan for over 10 years and her three daughters are also vegan/vegetarian. After spending 12 years in the South, in Texas, Franziska has now lived in Seattle for 14 years and loves it. She has worked as an activist for 30 years, and worked in an animal shelter for ten, many of which were as a cruelty investigator.

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