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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing and Surreal
I am a little in awe of what Boffa has pulled off in these parable-like stories. His anthropomorphized critters suffers pangs of love, stabs of jealousy, strains of thwarted desire, as passionately as any human Romeo/Juliet, yet still remain true to their critterly natures. From the noblest elk, to the lowliest sea-dwelling sponge, everyone is consumed by the quest for...
Published on January 28, 2003 by Tom Shi

versus
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars You're a little much Boffa!
All in all a good book, but not five stars. Clever, smart and crazy Alessandro lost me near the end as I thought it got to be a little much with all the witty aphorisms. He got a bit over extented or maybe it was me, not knowing cotyledon, ctenidium, pneumostome, proximal, ocelli, I could not hang with him like the five star people.
Published on February 27, 2003 by Kim F. Hill


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing and Surreal, January 28, 2003
By 
Tom Shi (Columbus, OH United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: You're an Animal, Viskovitz! (Hardcover)
I am a little in awe of what Boffa has pulled off in these parable-like stories. His anthropomorphized critters suffers pangs of love, stabs of jealousy, strains of thwarted desire, as passionately as any human Romeo/Juliet, yet still remain true to their critterly natures. From the noblest elk, to the lowliest sea-dwelling sponge, everyone is consumed by the quest for love, and the irrespresible spirit, Viskovitz, stand in the center of it all.
The author's genius lay in endowing his animal characters with just enough human attributes balanced with their "natural" concerns (i.e., a dung beetle still needs to roll you-know-what), and write the tales with aboslute deadpan seriousness.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Determination, deception and . . . dung?, April 9, 2005
This review is from: You're an Animal, Viskovitz! (Hardcover)
Some years ago, philosopher Thomas Nagel published his now-famous essay, "What Is It Like to Be A Bat?". He concluded that we can't fully comprehend the mental processes of another creature. Boffa may accept Searle's pronouncement on bats, but this Russian-born biologist has worked it out for twenty other species. In this treasury of witty "autobiographies", Boffa examines various animals' lives. In these lively episodes he demonstrates the various manifestations of one "Viskovitz" as spider, snail, mantis or microbe. In sometimes wonderfully lyrical language, Boffa recounts Viskovitz' quest for his true love, "Ljuba" and the turmoils and travails this multiple personality must endure.

Biologists know all animal life [and perhaps a few plants!] is driven by the "Five Fs" - Feed, Fear, Fight, Flight and . . . er . . . reproduction. Boffa rearranges the queue to put the last up front. As twenty different species, not all of them definably male, Viskovitz uses every opportunity to continue the line. His quest to mate, especially with the love of his choice, consumes him in each guise. His sense of mission may seem extreme to some, but the tales clearly represent what has been learned from studying life. Boffa recounts the many rituals various species go through in attracting mates. Africa's dung beetle Viskovitz goes beyond mere collecting and posturing. He becomes a monopolistic entrepreneur, determined to overwhelm any competition in his desire to win the beetle Ljuba. The resolution of that courtship is a priceless example of what "diversity of life" truly means. Identity may be hidden in some remote aspect of an organism.

Ljuba, primary object of desire, isn't the only influence on Viskovitz' life. There is Zucotic, who might be Viskovitz' alter ego. There's Lara, who may play substitute for the elusive Ljuba. In one case, the delightful Ljuba is replaced by a new, even more attractive mate, who happens to be a cardboard cutout. And, there's Viskovitz' relationship with his own parents, who- and what-ever they may be. Antecedents, as in any family, bear strong influence on how the current generation behaves and what they might expect. Inquiring about what his departed father was like, he's informed: "Crunchy, a bit salty, rich in fibre" by his preying mantis mother. Gender identity is vague among some creatures, and Viskovitz' relations with snail and sponge families makes delightful reading. But, so does the whole book. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clever and funny animal fables, May 18, 2004
By 
Eileen Rieback (Coral Springs, FL USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Poor Viskovitz! No matter what kind of animal he is, no matter how he tries to court the beautiful and elusive Ljuba, he encounters problems. In each of these twenty creative stories, Viskovitz and Ljuba metamorphose into different kinds of animals, including bees, pigs, fish, scorpions, and dogs. As an elk, Viskovitz spends so much time defending the females of the herd against the other males that he finds no time for his beloved Ljuba. As a mantis, he literally loses his head over the treacherous Ljuba. As a sponge, he is affixed to a rock and cannot reach Ljuba, the object of his affection. As a lion, he is hopelessly in love with the gazelle Ljuba, which is an impossible relationship. As a finch, he must protect Ljuba's eggs from the cuckoos.
This book is not only funny, satirical, witty, and surprising, it is also informative. Alessandro Boffa is a biologist, and through these imaginative tales you will learn interesting tidbits about the physiology and behavior of animal species. And one more thing: you will gain insight into the vagaries of the human condition as well. Highly recommended for a quick and fanciful read.
Eileen Rieback
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars You're a little much Boffa!, February 27, 2003
By 
Kim F. Hill (Rockford, IL. United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: You're an Animal, Viskovitz! (Hardcover)
All in all a good book, but not five stars. Clever, smart and crazy Alessandro lost me near the end as I thought it got to be a little much with all the witty aphorisms. He got a bit over extented or maybe it was me, not knowing cotyledon, ctenidium, pneumostome, proximal, ocelli, I could not hang with him like the five star people.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars you're a devious delight, boffa, October 24, 2004
By 
madhu m (Chennai, India) - See all my reviews
This review is from: You're an Animal, Viskovitz! (Hardcover)
in this compendiu of fables for the 21st century, boffa has created a hilariously delightful set of tales that will leave one in splits while reading and yet, if one were so inclined, leave the reader with enough to ruminate over in vacuous times.

boffa writes with delightful humour that is a joy to behold. each story is about a certain animal named viskovitz and his love for a certain lubja. viskovitz & lubja assume the roles of a multitude of creatures from the animal kingdom.

on the whole, this book comes highly recommended for anyone who loves great writing and quirky humour.

one of my discoveries of the year.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You're an Animal, Viskovitz!, December 20, 2002
By 
Thomas Crampton (Hong Kong Hong Kong) - See all my reviews
This review is from: You're an Animal, Viskovitz! (Hardcover)
This work exudes the satirical humor of Boffa that Italian readers have come to love. The translation draws English readers into his world for the first time, introducing them to a wide range of zany characters from the animal kingdom. The translators, Casey and Sanminiatelli, clearly had fun playing with words and the work. The result: A joy to the reader.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Laughing-out-loud funny, July 30, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: You're an Animal, Viskovitz! (Hardcover)
In the vein of Gary Larson's animal cartoons, Boffa takes anthromorphizing animals to hilarious extremes. Boffa peppers his text with lots of scientific terminology, but even the zoologically-challenged will find his insights into human/non-human nature understandable and delightful. Highly recommend!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vocabulary-busting animal tales, June 12, 2007
By 
Move over Aesop ... meet your 21st century reincarnation. Well not exactly - Aesop is more heuristic; Boffa is more satiric. Yes, the vocabulary can be daunting - "sessiliflore oak" isn't a phrase I encounter daily (weekly, monthly or even once a decade or two). But the use of such technical language of biology is extremely well done. When the meaning has to be understood, the context is always sufficient to allow one to understand. When the meaning doesn't need to be undestood, the technical vocabulary serves to keep the reader rooted in the prespective of the current reincarnation of Viskovitz.

The tales themselves use a variety of traditional techniques. Some play on folk sayings - one in love having lost their head is illustrated by a praying mantis. Others play with religious texts - subtle suggestions of God when Viskovitz is a microbe. Others play with cultural sterotypes - the very Buddhist retired narcotics dog that is a junkie himself.

These humorous tales are the best literary "folk tales" that I have read since Ramer's Bt-Little Pictures. Highly recommend when you want a good laugh at human foibles.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The funniest!, October 31, 2013
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This book is the funniest! I wanted to have it in my iPad and share it with my friends and family.
I am familiar with the paper version.
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5.0 out of 5 stars You'll laugh, you'll gasp, you'll shed a tear, but - avoid *SPOILER* reviewers!, April 16, 2011
Bold concept exquisitely realised (and translated). The saga of life in a nutshell; how long till it achieves the classic status it deserves? If Animal Farm was the classic of totalitarianism (if it now seems 'bleeding obvious' we've partly Orwell to thank) Viskovitz is surely the classic-in-waiting for our own unidealistic era, the continued existence in which of the Darwin-deniers only underscores the absolute centrality of Darwinian ideas to our world-view.
And guys, the biological language is intended to bamboozle, to 'blind you with science' - some of it's even made up (real or not, I loved the fauna in the penultimate chapter). Another must-have for schools - a fun read and a good starting point for debate philosophical, ethical, scientific.

An equally jolly-but-deadly-serious read is Gwyneth Lewis's Hospital Odyssey (it rhymes, but let that not put you off - like Viskovitz's, her travails are Everyman's)
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You're an Animal, Viskovitz!
You're an Animal, Viskovitz! by Alessandro Boffa (Hardcover - May 21, 2002)
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