Carnival Wolves

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Anchor Books, 1998 - Fiction - 275 pages
1 Review
Alan Johnson is a man ill-at-ease among people and only slightly more comfortable with animals. His story begins in upstate New York with his rescue of an injured Dalmatian who "came down out of the sky and survived the fall, showed me how gradually I have fallen--how I never touch, never really talk to another person...I am hardly a person at all." The dog heals and is returned to its neglectful owner, but Alan Johnson steals it back and heads west in search of what it means to be human.

As he crosses the United States, he moves through landscapes full of animals half-tamed and people run wild: a fanatical taxidermist, a lonely woman raising tigers on her remote ranch, a tragic circus chimp named Rufus, contemporary polygamists, and the caretakers of boot camps for troubled youths. They are Carnival Wolves, manifestations of our attempts to tame what is dangerous and wild, distorted reflections of parts of ourselves.

After a tortuous journey through various states of depravity--and of America--Alan Johnson ends up in California having reached a reconciliation of instincts and having found a human being he can love. A gripping, hallucinatory read, Carnival Wolves is a provocation, a plea for identification that questions the humanity of its readers and confirms Peter Rock as a unique literary talent.

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Carnival wolves

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

"Only connect," advised E.M. Forster, but in Rock's nightmare vision of contemporary America, there's little chance of heeding Forster's recommendation. This disappointing second book (after This Is ... Read full review

Review: Carnival Wolves

User Review  - Nate Hendrix - Goodreads

This is a collection of short stories that are knid of strange. Each story shares one or more characters in kind of random ways. This was better than the last book I read by Rock. I will give him another chance. Read full review



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About the author (1998)

PETER ROCK is the author of five previous novels, most recently My Abandonment, and a collection of stories, The Unsettling. He teaches writing at Reed College.

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