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One of NPR's Best Books of 2020
From the author of Nothing to Declare, a new travel narrative examining healing, redemption, and what it means to be a solo woman on the road.
"Mary Morris has long been a master memoirist...and has even more to teach us about the lengths to which we must go to reach our deepest selves. I loved this book." -Dani Shapiro, author of Inheritance
In the tradition of Wild by Cheryl Strayed and Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, Mary Morris turns a personal catastrophe into a rich, multilayered memoir full of personal growth, family history, and thrilling travel.
In February 2008 a casual afternoon of ice skating derailed the trip of a lifetime. Mary Morris was on the verge of a well-earned sabbatical, but instead she endured three months in a wheelchair, two surgeries, and extensive rehabilitation. On Easter Sunday, when she was supposed to be in Morocco, Morris was instead lying on the sofa reading Death in Venice, casting her eyes over these words again and again: "He would go on a journey. Not far. Not all the way to the tigers." Disaster shifted to possibility and Morris made a decision. When she was well enough to walk again (and her doctor wasn't sure she ever would), she would go "all the way to the tigers."
So begins a three-year odyssey that takes Morris to India in search of the world's most elusive apex predator. Her first lesson: don't look for a tiger because you won't find it--you look for signs of a tiger. And all unseen tigers, hiding in the bush, are referred to as "she." Morris connects deeply with these magnificent and highly endangered animals, and her weeks on tiger safari also afford a new understanding of herself.
Written in over a hundred short chapters, All the Way to the Tigers offers an elegiac, wry, and wise look at a woman on the road and the glorious, elusive creature she seeks.
About the Author
MARY MORRIS is the author of numerous works of fiction, including the novels Gateway to the Moon, The Jazz Palace, A Mother's Love, and House Arrest, and of nonfiction, including the travel classic Nothing to Declare: Memoirs of a Woman Traveling Alone. Morris is a recipient of the Rome Prize in literature and the 2016 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Fiction. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
"Mary Morris’s All the Way to the Tigers is a travel memoir and quest. Alluringly written in short, meditative chapters, it whizzes back and forth between America and India . . . the conceptual opportunity in a memoir such as this is to understand that the reader is stalking the elusive striped beast alongside the narrator." --New York Times Book Review
“Fact: Mary Morris is the best travel writer alive. I am humbled by her skill at using the bones of a journey to get to the heart of herself. She's a master of the craft.” --Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of A Spark of Light and Small Great Things
"Rich and unsparing, Morris' slim memoir is a keeper." --Maureen Corrigan, Fresh Air
"When Mary Morris was badly injured in an ice skating accident, it took a quote from Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice to get her out of her funk: 'He would go on a journey. Not far. Not all the way to the tigers.' Morris, a longtime traveler and memoirist, decided that when she could walk again she would go all the way to the tigers, to India. The best travel memoirs offer readers three pleasures woven together: accounts of 'what I saw,' 'how I came to understand myself better' and 'what I learned about the world' – and Morris’ memoir doesn’t skimp on any of them." --NPR, Best Books of 2020
"The author of the classic travelogue Nothing to Declare this time ventures to Pench, India, in part to glimpse the apex predator she’s long dreamed of, in part to prove that a recent injury won’t end the habit of far-flung travel that has nourished her for six decades. The resulting memoir--wry and wistful--reveals a woman finally comfortable with her own imperfections and, when she gets the chance, unafraid to look a tiger in the eye.” --O, The Oprah Magazine
"The compelling why and how of jumpstarting her epic adventure launches a multilayered story unfurled in 100 brief chapters — like little pearls expertly strung on an intricate necklace — somewhat similar to a journal, skipping back and forth in time and place, which Morris delivers with grace and grit." --Forbes
"Mary Morris has long been a master memoirist, and All the Way to the Tigers is among her finest works. Brave, layered, complex, and deeply human, this is a story of a woman traveling alone, only now she is older, wiser, and has even more to teach us about the lengths to which we must go to reach our deepest selves. I loved this book.” --Dani Shapiro, New York Times bestselling author of Inheritance and Hourglass
"All the Way to the Tigers is the refreshing literary answer to Tiger King.” --Elena Nicolaou for O, The Oprah Magazine
"In All the Way to the Tigers, Mary Morris so seamlessly combines her interior and exterior experiences, the effect is simply magical, the work of a virtuoso. The journey inside the author’s own mind is every bit as captivating as the trip itself. I’d follow her anywhere." --Robert Kolker, New York Times bestselling author of Hidden Valley Road
"This lush story tells the tale of a single woman on the road, looking for redemption and healing. . . expect the unexpected in her rich philosophies, inner discoveries, and self-realizations on the road." --O, the Oprah Magazine
"A travel narrative in the tradition of Cheryl Strayed and Elizabeth Gilbert" --Read It Forward
"Morris is frank, funny, and incisive as she revisits her 'free ranging' Chicago childhood, single motherhood, and her start as writer, and expounds on tigers in the world and in the imagination . . . Morris’ epigrammatic memoir is a finely wrought mosaic of unexpected and provocative pieces cunningly fit together." --Booklist
"Engrossing . . . Morris’s descriptions of remote beauty, grinding urban poverty, and exotic adventures will captivate armchair tourists and travel memoir fans." --Publishers Weekly
“In this gripping, beautifully written memoir, Mary Morris combines her travel writer’s eye for detail with her novelist’s ear for language and nuance to create a story about one woman’s journey to India find an elusive tiger--and, in the process, understand more about what motivates and obsesses her, and why. Fascinating and immersive--I was hooked from the first page!” --Christina Baker Kline, New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train
"In short meditative chapters that go back and forth in time, Morris documents her own evolution, as a traveler and a writer, always returning to the tiger, in history, as image, as symbol, as uber-predator whose numbers are dwindling, and finally as that breathing furnace of power and beauty that stalks our dreams, rousing from deepest slumber the little that’s left of the wild in our hearts.” --Valerie Martin, author of Ghost of the Mary Celeste and Property
"I have long been a fan of Mary Morris, and this wry and luminous new memoir only deepens my admiration for her gifts." --Dan Chaon, author of Ill Will
"The travel memoir is short yet packs a punch . . . Morris mainly pulls back from that Eat, Pray, Love trope--aware of her privilege--and focuses on introspection, which is where this memoir shines.” --Alma.com
"In this extraordinary memoir, Mary Morris explores the wild--and her life--with passion, lyricism, wisdom, and wit. I could not stop reading till I got to the last page. Dazzling." --Judy Goldman, author of Together
"A travel memoir is only as good as its journey. In her exquisite new book, All the Way to the Tigers, Mary Morris takes us on not one, but two gripping adventures – a recovery from a horrendous accident, and her subsequent trip to India to look for tigers in the wild. These parallel quests, told in tandem, beautifully illuminate and inform each other. This is a gorgeously written, deeply touching book. It glitters with insight and wisdom. I absolutely loved it." --Alex George, author of The Paris Hours