From Publishers Weekly
Animals play the starring roles in Tinti's striking debut collection. In 11 highly original, sometimes gorgeous stories, they are freighted with the symbolic significance of all that is peculiar, cruel and loving in their human counterparts. "Big animals are like big problems," says the title story's zookeeper, but more often, it's people and their complex relationships to themselves and one another that cause the problems. In "Preservation," a young painter charged with restoring murals in a natural history museum's dioramas is haunted by the impending death of her artist father in the form of a stuffed black bear come to life. A woman mourns the loss of her lover while caring for his pet boa constrictor in "How to Revitalize the Snake in Your Life." Tinti's weaker stories"-Gallus, Gallus" and "Hit Man of the Year"-read more like parables and lack the psychological realism that makes her wildest notions work so brilliantly. At its best, Tinti's suburban gothic recalls Joy Williams, where violence is domesticated though no less horrifying: a mother commits murder and covers the body with breakfast cereal in "Home Sweet Home," while in "Bloodworks," a father with his own history of cruelty to animals discovers a dead kitten in his son's closet and worries that there is "something in the family blood." A redeeming generosity underlies the harsher realities in these stories, and it is to Tinti's credit that her zookeepers and pet owners, as flawed as they are, are as sympathetic as her wise giraffes and gentle bunnies.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
--This text refers to the
Tinti boldly parses primal emotions in her stealthy short stories, which, like cats' paws, conceal weapons of great precision. Each tale posits interaction between animals and humans, which, rather than offering cuddly moments, lead to vicious or spooky confrontations. Zoos make perfect theaters for Tinti's creepy and caustic satires. In the title story, an unhappy zoo worker assigned the task of washing an elephant has a dire plan in mind, and in the Animal Farm-
like "Reasonable Terms," giraffes enact a dramatic protest. A museum of natural history is the setting for "Preservation," Tinti's finest, most compassionate, and most richly metaphorical story. A rabbit, rooster, and boa constrictor play pivotal roles in alarming tales on the domestic front, in which ironically prosaic backdrops contrast with shocking acts of cold-blooded revenge and bloodshed. Tinti's fables are dark and wily, grim yet morbidly fascinating exposures of both our animal selves and our uniquely human psychoses. Donna SeamanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
--This text refers to the