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A Carnivore's Inquiry

3.54 of 5 stars 3.54  ·  rating details  ·  306 ratings  ·  52 reviews
Sabina Murray's first book since she won the PEN/Faulkner Award for The Caprices seduces with its dark delight in her taboo subject.
When we meet Katherine, the winning-and rather disturbing-twenty-three-year-old narrator, she has just left Italy and arrived in New York City, but what has propelled her there is a mystery. She soon strikes up an affair with a middle-aged Rus
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ebook, 304 pages
Published December 1st 2007 by Grove Press (first published 2004)
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(showing 1-30 of 636)
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CluckingBell
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Christina Johnston
2.5 out of 5 stars

I had a really mixed reaction to this book. On one level, I love the writing style and enjoyed the constant references to literature, history, and art. However, I loathe the main character. Simply put, she is a terrible person. I also totally figured everything out in the plot within the first 30% of the book...therefore, it really dragged and was pretty boring until the last few chapters where I was proven right. Also, this book really isn't for the faint of heart. IT IS FREAK
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James
Really amazing. A transcendent and important work.

Also, for any would-be writers out there who are interested in how to achieve the voice of the unreliable narrator: look no further than this novel.

I loved this book so much (which was, in turn, recommended to me by my good friend Professor Min Hyoung Song of Boston College), that I even wrote the author a gushy little fan letter to her Facebook page. (I did not dare ask for her to be my friend, however: this is one scary book, and anyone capable
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Anna  (Bananas!)
The most beautiful, compelling, subtle book you may ever read about cannibalism. The character remained a bit of a mystery even at the end. However, I enjoyed all her thoughts on the subject matter within history and art, and also how her tragic mother tied into the story.

You know what's happening all along and yet it's still chilling when the truth is revealed.
Trish
Upon a second reading, I can say unequivocally that I like this novel. A lot.

The protagonist's affect, or lack thereof, reminds me of Morvern Callar. The book also puts me in mind of The Talented Mr. Ripley, the mix of urbanity and depravity.

I found myself hitting Wikipedia every few chapters, looking for more information on one of Katherine's digressions into famous carnivores in art, history, and literature.

The Raft of the Medusa also features in Julian Barnes' A History of the World in 10
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Ryann
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Jaime
It seems that the author wants the main character to be some seductress that could make any man crazy enough to live with her even though she is already with a bunch of other strange men. However she and the other characters do not come off as the wild impulsive creatures the author wants them to be, but just unreal. You read the book and think, these are not real people.

The way too many accounts of real-life cannibals do not help either. They may be necessary to understand the main character be
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Geeta
Aug 03, 2008 Geeta rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mark
Strange, oddly compelling book. I did not, as the jacket copy promised, find the main character particularly sympathetic, but I did find her interesting. Katherine Shea arrives in New York from Italy one day, and immediately hooks up with an older Russian writer of some celebrity. She moves in with Boris, and really doesn't do much but muse on literature and painting. This makes for a slow beginning, but once they rent a house in Portland, for her to stay in while he stays in New York and writes ...more
Dustin
Dec 12, 2007 Dustin rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: flesh eating bacteria
Shelves: crappy-books
Halfway through this, I realized that I just didn't care what happened in the rest of the book. I couldn't care less about the boring narrator or the uninteresting people she spent time with. There were some good moments in the beginning. The masturbating orangutan anecdote is perfect. Much of the cannibalism is interesting. But, in the end, this is a book filled with murders but hardly any blood, a book about a promiscuous woman with a string of lovers all over the world but no sex. The masturb ...more
Robert Wechsler
I enjoyed this book even though it is not my kind of novel, and there were times I considered putting it down, especially toward the end. What made the book for me were the asides, the historical stories, mostly about cannibalism or suspected cannibalism, almost Kemske (as in Floyd Kemske).

The novel is a youthful game, a first-person narrative by a young woman who is lost about the men she meets and without doing anything seduces, the father she ignores and the mother she loves and who seems to
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Amy
An unusual and pleasantly sinister book with lots of tales of historical cannibalism woven into the plot. Found the narrator a little difficult - young, attractive, always able to pick up a new squeeze at the drop of a hat, etc. Subtle and interesting story telling.
Renee
Emotionally detached, interpersonally ADHD young woman roams thru people and states. Various carnage ensues.

Although this was a well-paced page-turner, and poses questions for reader initially, the protagonist Katherine reveals herself/her personality rather early on. She's not sympathetic - not that that's necessary for a good story - but...hmmmm...I guess things wrapped up a little predictably in the end. Or maybe it's Katherine's literary & historical digressions that while interesting, s
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Kristy Bryson
Not for the squeamish. Excellent book. Taboo topics. I wish I hadn't given my copy away!
Martha Larkin
I'm not just sure what I read to be honest. I liked it, but I don't think it would be everyone's cup of tea.
Jerri
A very unique and original tale.
Cassandra
Well that was entertaining enough. The twist wasn't all that surprising, but I appreciated the shout out to Alexander Pearce.
Kinohi
It was an interesting read. Kind of slow, but it served the plot and character development I felt. There is a lot of symbolism throughout each of the stories and interactions on multiple levels. The jacket made some reference to this being more than a gothic novel, and made some lofty assertion about humanity. I thought the second assertion a bit of a stretch, but I did find it interesting the way it pointed out the multiple "cannibalistic" qualities found throughout our society and considered l ...more
Diane
OK this book totally floored me ! One minute I was like 'you'r the killer' and the next I was 'no you are the one'. The character of Katherine was mesmerizing in places and in others I was wanting to hit her to get her to move. Her finding comfort in images and stories of cannibalism and murder are creepy but serve to show how aren't we all just looking for comfort/hungry for the next thing ... be it money, power or control or that new book !
Altogether a wonderful if creepy book.
Anna
Sep 06, 2007 Anna rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: cannibals, friends of cannibals
so i finished this. the end was oddly unsatisfying, which was ironic after the amount of time the author spent discussing hunger. and maybe it was because i was on the train while i was finishing it, but i didn't feel like the events were explained fully enough. but i did think the narrator was an interesting character, and the writing is good, and the discussions of cannibalism were like little nuggets of nonfiction snuck into a novel, which i like.
Maria
I had a very strange experience with this book. As I was reading certain scenes, I KNEW what would happen next, almost as if I had read it before. Then I realized that I had read this book before, probably when it came out. But it took me over half the book before I recognized it! I've never forgotten about a book so completely as this one, so although it was pretty good, I'm lowering it a star for sheer forgettable-ness.
Carolyn
At first, this book really reminded me of "Here Kitty Kitty" (Jardine Libaire). She seems drunk, obsessive, self destructive, barreling down the hill into homeless (and hopeless), desperate hell. But then...then there is something else happening in this book. It's a very slow reveal, as the narrator is hiding from herself. And the freakish parts are told in such a nonfreakish way...they almost seem normal... Liked it a lot!
Heleen
Jan 21, 2014 Heleen marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Gevonden in Switch in jan. 2014
Erin
My second time through this book, I still enjoy every moment of dark, intelligent humor. Add to that the compelling, vivid writing - who else besides a professor of art history could describe each scene as though it were a painting, then interpret each scene as one would a painting, brimming with action and hidden meaning? A thinking woman's book.
Kim
I was not a huge fan of this book at all. It has a lot to do with cannibalism. Not my normal type of book but I saw it on Candy Covered Books and thought I would give it a try. Anyway, I didn't absolutely HATE it...I mean, I could tell the author is a good writer, but it just wasn't a story that I enjoyed very much.
Kerri
I like the idea of a modern Gothic novel, but this reads like a first draft someone didn't feel like revising. I didn't find it especially literary despite what some of the reviews led me to believe. Most people in our book club had a hard time finding a copy. Now I know why.
Jessica
75/2009


Love this book. The only thing keeping it from a five is sometimes unnessecarily long passages of info on history. Read the book and you'll know what I mean. I liked the art and literature discussions, but some of them got too long winded.
Jennifer
While I definitely found the book entertaining I had a hard time caring about any of the characters. The only character that had any depth was the narrator and she was... interesting. Still I enjoyed the story and thought it was a lot of fun to read.
Erica
This was a weird one. I really appreciated the author's skill with the unreliable narrator, and she weaved in a lot of historical stuff on cannibalism that was interesting. But ultimately, the main character is kind of annoying.
Pamels
This book has some great dialogue. Such as:

"I know enough about you to know that I know enough about you."

"With a fifty-dollar bill in his hand, he was almost handsome."

"Love is the new hate."
Bekah L
What a fabulous author! The author writes small stories within the story that all leads up to the twist at the end. She does a very good job!!! I loved her style.
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Sabina Murray was born in 1968 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She is of mixed parentage—her mother a Filipina from Manila, her father a former Jesuit scholastic turned anthropologist from Boston. Her parents met in Washington DC, where both were pursuing graduate degrees. At the age of two she moved to Perth with her family, when her father accepted a position at the University of Western Australia. ...more
More about Sabina Murray...
The Caprices Tales of the New World: Stories Forgery: A Novel Slow Burn xo Orpheus: Fifty New Myths

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