Review: Tania James’ ‘The Tusk That Did the Damage’

April 3, 2015 7:45 PM

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Review: Tania James’ ‘The Tusk That Did the Damage’

While not as heavily poached as its African cousin, the Asian elephant in India remains in danger of extinction. Simple pressures of space — fragmented habitat, broken migration routes, the proximity of farms — have driven it into competition with humans, despite its cultural importance. Elephant raids on crops and homes are now common, and up to 300 Indians are killed by elephants each year. In response, the elephants are often killed, too.

Tania James, who lives in Washington, D.C., situates her second novel in the moral murk of this conflict. Although the focus is primarily on poaching, the story’s true subject is larger and more profound: How do humans and animals — whose lives at times seem at cross purposes — coexist? That ambitio...

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