The Tusk That Did the Damage

the tusk that did the damage tania james

The Tusk That Did the Damage, by Tania James, is a story about an elephant–and about the people who want to save, kill, punish, or enslave him. The book is written from the perspective of multiple people, but the most powerful storyteller, in my opinion, is Manu, the sweet, sincere, and naive younger brother of an elephant poacher.

This was a beautiful book–a beautiful book that I didn’t like much at first, honestly. The chapters written from the elephant’s perspective irked me initially. And the writing was so sparse. But as the story went on, I actually grew to appreciate, and even look forward to, the elephant’s chapters. I felt that his perspective added depth–and definitely uniqueness–to the story.

And the story really was unique, special even. This may sound crazy, but, while reading the book, I kept thinking it (the story itself) had an old soul. The writing was just so well done, so thoughtful and intentional. Each word felt deliberate, like no space was wasted, and I appreciated that.

Ultimately, this ended up being a wonderful read, despite its (SPOILER ALERT) less than desirable ending. I found myself thinking about the story and the characters days after I finished the book, which, for me, is always the mark of a successful novel. I’m really glad I stuck with it.

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