Immortalising George the tiger through a book

Frenchwoman Claire le Michel’s book on a tiger in the Thiruvananthapuram zoo will be released on January 20

January 12, 2023 09:48 pm | Updated 09:48 pm IST

Claire le Michel with her book

Claire le Michel with her book

The day after she reached the State capital on her seventh visit, Claire le Michel, a Frenchwoman, visited the city zoo to see the animals there.

Claire who has immortalised George, a Bengal tiger that lived at the city zoo, through a story published on a French blog and aired on radio, is in the city in connection with the launch of her book on George, The mysterious journal of Mr. Carbon Crow – The story of George.

Claire says she was quite nostalgic during the zoo visit as she saw tigers she had met before. However, George was not there. He passed away the day after Christmas in 2021. Because she felt incredibly connected to George, she was very sad when she came to know of his death. “All the zoo tigers are beautiful, but George, with his eyes and expressions, was very special.”

Claire says she was not thinking of a book on George but was persuaded to send to publishers the manuscript and translation that were already ready as part of the blog and podcast project in France. A children’s publisher ‘Le Verger des Hesperides’ was soon on board.

In English, French

The book is both in English and French. It’s not really in a book format but more like a journal. Though designed to appeal to children, it can be read by anyone easily, says Claire.

Claire’s title for the book was ‘The story of George’ but the publishers went for a new title and put focus on the narrator, only in the later part of the story one realises that it is a magpie named Carbon Crow.

Besides George, Carbon Crow, and other animals, Claire and zoo veterinarian Jacob Alexander too are characters in the book that has two parts.

Special

George though remains the main character, says Claire, for in the second part one realises that George is special because he was the only tiger in the zoo that was born free but had the intelligence to calm down and adapt to his new home in the zoo. Through his friendship with Carbon Crow, George tried to understand why human beings behaved the way they do.

Claire says she would not have been able to bring out the book if she were not helped by the spirit of George. “I feel nature is inside us and part of my duty through poetry or any writing is to make people feel it.”

The book will be released at a function at the Alliance Francaise de Trivandrum at 5.30 p.m. on January 20. There are plans for Claire to interact with school and college students across cities in the State, and perhaps an interactive project involving students here and in France, says the author who is working on her second book.

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