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The Follow

A True Story

by Linda Spalding

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list price: $29.95
published: 2002
publisher: Key Porter Books

"Rousseau's prescription for us, who have drifted so far from our origins, was to make two journeys, one to a place where life is still uncorrupted, and another into the self." In The Follow, novelist Linda Spalding travels to Borneo, first with her two daughters and later alone, in search of the famed orangutan scientist Birute Galdikas. What she finds instead is an unholy mix of foreign scientists, government workers, tourists, loggers, descendants of Dayak headhunters, Javanese gold miners, captive and wild orangutans. Her journey is the equivalent of a "follow," during which a tracker watches, over a course of time, an orangutan's movements and the effect of the animal on the surrounding environment. Spalding's follow takes her from Galdikas's Orangutan Foundation International offices in Los Angeles to her subject's original research station on the crocodile-infested Sekonyer River in Kalimantan. What unravels along the way is a story of relationships among women, people and animals, and natives and eco-tourists. Woven through these reflections is Spalding's own incredible story of her journey up the Sekonyer River and what she learns along the way.

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