The Art of Patience
Seeking the Snow Leopard in TibetSylvain Tesson
Winner of the Prix Renaudot 2019
A New York Times Best Book of 2021
‘Extraordinarily beautiful… a long last loving glance at the planet.’ Carl Safina, author of Becoming Wild
The Art of Patience sees the renowned French adventurer and writer set off for the high plateaux of remotest Tibet in search of the elusive snow leopard. There, in the company of leading wildlife photographer Vincent Munier and two companions, at 5,000 metres and in temperatures of -25ºC, the team set up their hides on exposed mountainsides, and occasionally in the luxury of an icy cave, to await a visitation from the almost mythical beast.
This tightly focused and tautly written narrative is simultaneously a dazzling account of an exacting journey, an apprenticeship in the art of patience, an acceptance of the ruthlessness of the natural world and, finally, a plea for ecological sanity.
A small masterpiece, it is one of those books that demands to be read again and again.
‘Tesson is a transcendent travel writer… [The Art of Patience] inspires action, thought, silence – and perhaps also prayer.’
‘A wonderful evocation of waiting and watching for nature.’
‘Beautifully written, beautifully translated, intensely moving and totally absorbing.’
‘The Art of Patience is extraordinarily beautiful, a narrative of prose that flows with poetry, a long last loving glance at the planet, a visit to the vital bedside of a living world determined to stay alive.’
‘I found it hard to resist… there is so much more to this elegantly written book than the story of a search. It is also a philosophical consideration of the benefits of silence, waiting and personal reflection; an ode to the psychological effect of natural beauty; and a poetic eulogy to the planet.’
‘[One of] the best books of the year.’
‘I thought I’d rip through this book. But it’s not something you want to read fast. Tesson, who I came to like more and more, is trying to rearrange his relationship with time. Being alone, miles from anywhere, encourages him to sit still and watch things.’
‘He comes across as the brainiest, daftest, sternest, funniest, most companionable hermit you'll ever meet.’