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Carnivore Diet: A Novel
by Julia Slavin
Wendy Dunleavy is desperately trying to hold her family together. But with her politician husband in prison for corruption and her son, Dylan, the former child actor, running unsupervised through the orderly avenues of northwest Washington, she may not have enough muscle for the task. And that's before the first sighting of the mysterious chagwa, a famished and unruly mena ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published August 17th 2006 by W. W. Norton & Company
(first published 2005)
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(showing 1-30 of 89)
I really didn't enjoy this book. I expected, and got, deep character development, commentary on society and family relationships in the contemporary era, and surrealism. But this isn't Murakami. In Murakami's work the surrealism adds a challenge or puzzle that the reader and characters must work through together, and thus in a way knits the protagonist and reader together in a shared task. In Carnivore Diet, the surrealism tears at the fabric of time and narrative and distorts the entire novel i ...more
The amount of imagination Slavin has concentrated into this one novel could easily fill thirty novels. I've been longing for someone to combine satire and magical realism like this for years. This book is often really, really funny, and weirdly moving (my favorite kind of "moving") -- and there's something enigmatic going on beneath the surface, a little hard to see because the surface shimmers so ornately. I couldn't put this book down, nor did I want to. I can't believe more people aren't talk ...more
Bought this because of a short story excerpt on Nerve.com (an amusing sex scene). The writing style was not my thing. Like reading an extended Patricia Marx piece in the New Yorker (no, I didn't much like her novel either). Creatures akin to Elizabeth McCracken's Giant's House nor (what the hell was that book?) Rachel Ingalls' Caliban?
Another disappointment, a very strange book about a boy on the verge of puberty & his stressed-out mother who try to survive a series of attacks by a monster (a "chagwa"), while the father/husband, a former congressman, is in prison for corruption for which he claims he was framed. There's very little reward here.
There's a bigfoot type creature terrorizing Washington, DC. There's also a child actor, a voice-actor, that's recently been booted from his series due to puberty and his cracking voice. And this is indeed a literary book. Pretty entertaining with some great passages though the ending ran out of fuel for me.
I love Julia Slavin's use of the absurd, woven so completely into her narrative. However, by the end of the book I was feeling a bit fatigued. She makes the transition from excellent short stories to novel much better than do other short story authors I enjoy, but I think she'll do better in the future.
Julia Slavin's stories have won a Pushcart Prize and GQ's coveted Frederick Exley Fiction Competition. She worked for a decade as an ABC-TV producer in New York before moving to Washington, D.C., where she lives with her husband. She is currently at work on a novel.More about Julia Slavin...