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The Zoo Where You're Fed to God

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating Details ·  79 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
The acclaimed screenwriter of Echo Park offers a riveting novel of a man's descent into madness. After a painful divorce, Michael Ventura finds himself at the zoo--hearing voices and seeing into the souls of animals. Through the love of an extraordinary woman, he slowly begins to reconnect with himself and his past.
Hardcover, 255 pages
Published September 1st 1994 by Simon & Schuster
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Jul 25, 2014 karen rated it it was amazing
i was just reading my delight of a book, readers' advisory service in the public library, and the chapter i was reading was the one on "appeal". basically, appeal is how you describe a book to a patron based on its salient elements: pacing, characterization, story line, frame/tone, and style. the idea is that by using these descriptive elements, we can recommend any book to any person, whether we have read the book or not, whether we know anything about the genre, based on the appeal of these el ...more
Jan 04, 2011 Eh?Eh! rated it really liked it
This took me nearly a year to finish, partly because I'm distractable but also because it has a heaviness that saddened and slowed. I think I technically read this 3 or 4 times, since I moved back and forth with my re-reading, to remember and to re-think. Not much activity happens in the story and if you outlined the events it would only be a few points long. But wow. How to describe this?

I once knew a misguided young man who talked incessantly about "connection" and sought to "connect" with the
Feb 23, 2010 Greg rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
This book kept reminding me of Ron Loewinsohn's Where All the Ladders Start, but I think it was the just a superficial resemblance between the younger girls who become romantically involved with the older protagonist.

Karen recommended this book to the world in her review.

A friend of a friend calls it maybe his favorite book.

Some reviews call this a mid-life crisis book, I don't think it is one. It's more like an existential crisis book, but existential is such a dirty little word, maybe it's b
Jul 31, 2014 Ademption rated it really liked it
Recommended to Ademption by: karen
Shelves: novels

Sort of, not really, kidding.

The Zoo Where You're Fed to God (ZWYFTG) features a surgeon who might be going insane, or possibly having a mid-life crisis, having a spiritual awakening, or having a bad staycation in which he stops being himself. There's a sort of punk pixie girl and she might be manic, but less so than the surgeon. And there is the zoo, the surgeon's ex-wife and his son.

I liked how Ventura poetically explained that the surgeon's ex
Kyle Muntz
Mar 27, 2016 Kyle Muntz rated it it was amazing
One of the best novels I've ever read that was set in something close to the real world. It was nice to come back to this years later and see it still lives up to my memories of it. The whole novel has this essentially sublime mood, especially the chapters in the zoo, but this time I was also really fixated on Ventura's treatment of the characters, which is excellent. I've been getting more interested in realism recently, so this was probably a good time for me to pick up this novel again.
Nov 28, 2010 Josh rated it really liked it
Recommended to Josh by: karen
Shelves: 2010
Apparently, Eve Babitz said this about the novel:

'This book is just dreamy. It rolls by in a dream.'

I don't know who the hell this Eve Babitz character is, but she's got it right. This book just flows. One scene moves to the next so fluidly as to make chapters almost unnecessary. Some sections are almost trance-like.

I'm not sure if I can give it five stars, but I did really like it, and it has some absolutely beautiful passages. My only complaint is that a few sections (ones where Ventura went
Jun 30, 2008 Nicholas rated it it was amazing
There are only two books that I've memorized the first paragraph to, and of the two, this is the only one that I memorized out of sheer love. Also, I read this book every six months or so and it never loses even a square inch of its charm.
Jeff Falzone
Mar 12, 2009 Jeff Falzone rated it it was amazing
Maybe my favorite book
Oct 14, 2016 TT marked it as to-read
Shelves: fiction
"All paths cause pain, so to choose the safe over the audacious will not give you less pain, only less beauty." (Carla)
Aug 21, 2008 Nick rated it liked it
I couldn't get through this book. I gave it 3 stars because while it was well written and engaging, I'm not so sure i can handle another 'mid life crisis' book right now. They all seem to bleed together in my mind. I'd like to come back to it as I'm sure it offers something different from the last; I just don't have the energy to sympathize with a middle aged, financially successful, divorcee.
Something tells me that after some time the four stars I've given this book will become three. I think I'm on a high from this book.

for a more thorough review

May 31, 2015 mstan rated it liked it
I don't know how to feel about this... it's a terribly haunting portrait of a man's descent into madness, but at the same time so difficult to read because of it. 3.5 stars.
Hannah rated it really liked it
Sep 08, 2012
Bruce Loewenthal
one of my favorites of all time
Lina rated it really liked it
Jul 26, 2010
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Oct 01, 2012
Jason Styles
Jason Styles rated it it was amazing
Dec 19, 2014
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Feb 22, 2009
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Nov 04, 2010
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Oct 22, 2016
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Feb 13, 2011
Magdelanye rated it it was amazing
Aug 17, 2011
Tod Booth
Tod Booth rated it really liked it
Jan 09, 2015
Heather rated it really liked it
May 18, 2012
May 12, 2012 Margaret rated it liked it
The book has a curious kind of heaviness, fitting for the title I guess. It was a good read.
sn rated it really liked it
Feb 29, 2012
Chris Estey
Chris Estey rated it liked it
Dec 25, 2009
Robert Ramsey
Robert Ramsey rated it it was amazing
Jan 08, 2014
Elizabeth Seago
Elizabeth Seago rated it it was amazing
Sep 17, 2014
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Michael Ventura is the author of WE'VE HAD A HUNDRED YEARS OF PSYCHOTHERAPY AND THE WORLD'S GETTING WORSE (with James Hillman) and LETTERS AT 3A.M.--REPORTS ON ENDARKENMENT. THE ZOO WHERE YOU'RE FED TO GOD is the first book of a trilogy titled THE TIGER, THE ROCK AND THE ROSE. Ventura has also embarked on a series of novels about Las Vegas. He divides his time between Austin and Los Angeles.

From t
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“All paths cause pain, so to chose the safe over the audacious will not give you less pain, only less beauty.” 10 likes
“Good is not the opposite of evil, joy is the opposite of evil.” 9 likes
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