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Jaguars Ripped My Flesh, Tim Cahill, Bantam, 1987, ISBN 0-553-34276-2, $9.95

This is a well-written collection of essays by Cahill, subtitled “Adventure is a Risky Business,” that succeeds best when Cahill is trying to make due with human nature rather than mother nature. Or, possibly, that’s just where my interests lie. Even arm-chair tourists whose idea of “getting back to nature” is a stroll down the block can’t help but envy Cahill as he is pushed in assignment after assignment in which he looks danger in the face and blows it a raspberry, and then falling on his face. Woah, that extended one metaphor to the breaking point, which Cahill tends to do at times as well. But don’t think all is just chills and thrills here. There’s some social commentary (some biting, some toothless), vivid description, outlandish occurrences, and breathtaking wonder. It may seem at times that you’re reading a transcript for “NOVA,” but is that so bad? Cahill’s written two other volumes like this–A Wolverine is Eating My Leg and Pecked to Death by Ducks–which I plan to find and read, and that’s probably recommendation enough for this volume.

[Finished 28 February 1993]


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