A journalist’s quest to find a wild Asian arowana – the world’s most expensive aquarium fish – takes her on a global tour through the bizarre realm of ornamental fish hobbyists to some of the most remote jungles on the planet.
Author(s): Emily Voigt
Printed in U.S.A – 319 pages – copyright 2016
A young man is murdered for his prized pet fish, an Asian tycoon buys a single specimen for $150,000. Meanwhile, a pet detective chases smugglers through the streets of New York. Delving into an outlandish world of obsession, paranoia, and criminality, The Dragon Behind the Glass tells the story of a fish like none other. Treasured as a status symbol believed to bring good luck, the Asian arowana, or “dragon fish,” is a dramatic example of a modern paradox: the mass-produced endangered species.
While hundreds of thousands are bred in captivity, the wild fish has become a near-mythical creature. From South Bronx to Borneo and beyond, journalist Emily Voigt follows the trail of the arowana to learn its fate in nature. With a captivating blend of personal reporting, history, and science, Voigt traces our fascination with aquarium fish back to the era of exploration when intrepid naturalists stood on the cutting edge of modern science, discovering new species around the globe. In an age when freshwater fish now comprise one of the most rapidly vanishing groups of animals, she unearths a surprising truth behind the arowana’s rise to fame – one that calls into question how we protect the world’s rarest species. An elegant examination of the human conquest of nature,
The Dragon Behind the Glass revels in the sheer wonder of life’s diversity and lays bare our deepest desire – to hold what is wild. About the Author: Emily Voigt is a journalist specializing in science and culture. Her stories have appeared in the New York Times, onEarth magazine, Mother Jones, and Isotope: A Journal of Literary Nature and Science Writing, as well as on the programs Radiolab and This American Life. The recipient of a Pulitzer Traveling Fellowship, she holds degrees in English Literature and Journalism from Columbia University. This is her first book.