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Enter the Aardvark

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  1,782 ratings  ·  409 reviews
A young congressman discovers a mysterious stuffed aardvark on his doorstep and sets out on a rip-roaring journey to find out what it means.

It's early one morning on a hot day in August, and millennial congressman Alexander Paine Wilson (R), planning his first reelection campaign and in deep denial about his sexuality, receives a mysterious, over-sized FedEx delivery on h
Hardcover, 183 pages
Published March 24th 2020 by Little, Brown and Company
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Average rating 3.63  · 
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 ·  1,782 ratings  ·  409 reviews

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Aug 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
What a strange book. There are two threads. There is an asshole republican congressman utterly lacking in self-awareness and a taxidermist and an aardvark.

Some parts were a bit too... on the nose, a bit too easy. But still, this is some of the most original satire I’ve read.
This is a wonderfully offbeat, satirical, hilarious and original novel from Jessica Anthony, about the killing of the aardvark in Southern Africa by a Victorian naturalist, Sir Richard Ostlet, and sent to his former lover, 40 year old renowned taxidermist, Titus Downing, in Leamington Spa, along with detailed notes. This is the story of a gigantic taxidermied aardvark and its journey, including some time with the Nazis, up to the present in the US until it finally finds its way home. This oft bo ...more
Apr 16, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: us, humor, netgalley
Enter the title and the cover on Netgalley when I thought two things: What the hell is an Aardvark and I have to read this book because this title and cover are so strange. Enter the blurb, a satire about some US politician who receives a stuffed Aardvark as a gift and from there his carefully well built (and fake) career unravels. Vonnegut was mentioned as a similar writer and I was sold

Enter the two main timelines, first one in the Victorian era where a well-known naturalist, Sir Richard Ostl
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What happens when someone brings a nasty, closeted, right-wing acolyte of Ronald Reagan a stuffed aardvark? Everything. And all of it will surprise you. How did this taxidermied nocturnal creature from Namibia arrive on Congressman Alexander Payne Wilson's doorstep? The journey we discover, starts in the 1870s, and as we read it becomes clear that the present and the path intertwine. The dual, though strikingly similar tales across time elevate the novel beyond a standard farce, though don't wor ...more
This suffers from the defects of its virtues.

If you're going to have fun making a shitload of bad stuff happen to someone then that someone has to be a jerk. Alexander Paine Wilson presses all the jerkdom buttons, oh yeah. So many that I found it hard to give a toss what happens to him.

But I read the whole thing, so there was obviously something else on offer. A clever parallel story which offers a bit of fun spotting the, er, parallels. Almost too cute. A weirdly unlikely sort-of-suicide. (Don'
Dec 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2019
I do love stumbling across an unknown book and finding out that it is a brilliant read, that is what happened with "enter the aardvark". A political satire that captures the madness of politics and news media perfectly. Alexander Paine Wilson is a politician that pushes crazy laws about same sex marriage and abortions by day and at night is completely oblivious that he is breaking the laws he is trying to enforce, in my opinion that fits the average politician in the UK.

That is just half the st
Jan 18, 2021 rated it really liked it
Alexander Paine Wilson is a pompous, hypocritical, super closeted dick. Coincidentally he's the Republican incumbent in the first congressional district in Virginia against the pantsuit wearing Nancy Beavers. He's a Ronald Reagan superfan, low key bigot, unconscious misogynist and a conspicuous consumer who knows exactly how much his Kohler vibrant Brushed Bronze WaterTile Ambient Rain Shower or ten-layered, California King–sized Kluft Palais Royale mattress costs - because of course.

And so it's
Betsy Robinson
Aug 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
It's not often I obsess over where a story came from, but reading this wild satire alternating between that of a taxidermist in Victorian England and a corrupt and self-involved congressman in the present-day U.S. of A. had me constantly asking, "How did she do this? Where did this come from?"

I guess it doesn't matter. But it is such an original and unexpected satire about political animals and an aardvark and homosexual longing and pain that I still do wonder.

The ride was actually better than t
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
satire + taxidermy + ??? = !!!!!!!
Jan 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
One of those books where every few pages you go hahahahahaWHAT.
I'm not sure what exactly happened but I had a good time!
On a scoreboard of the most bizarre, zany and fun novels I’ve read, this one would be right up there with Ned Beauman’s Boxer, Beetle and Alex Christofi’s Glass. The two story lines, one contemporary and one set in the 1870s, are linked by a taxidermied aardvark that makes its way from Namibia to the Washington, D.C. suburbs by way of Victorian England.

The aardvark was collected by naturalist Sir Richard Ostlet and stuffed by Titus Downing, his secret lover. Ostlet committed suicide in Africa, b
Wendy Cosin
Feb 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyable and amusing, Enter the Aardvark tells parallel stories about two men in in the late 1800’s - a naturalist and a taxidermist - and a creepy Republican congressman in DC in current times. The novel jumps back and forth as the characters live their complicated lives. Full of facts and words I didn’t know, this political satire is a quick read.

I received a free ARC. The novel will be published in late March.
Jessica Stephenson
Bloody HELL. Jessica Anthony just gets better and better. Despite the main character being a despicable, utterly privileged, closeted, gay conservative white man, I fell in love with this book immediately. This novel is utterly batshit crazy, hilarious, irreverent, and so ridiculously satisfying. Five stars.
eArc provided by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review!

This was so odd but odd in a way which I loved from the moment I started it. The writing style is so unique, but not in a way that felt inaccessible or off-putting. I'm a sucker for 2nd person perspective, so I truly loved the writing choices Anthony made. My one critique with the writing was the interspersed brand placements- to me, it interrupted the flow of the narrative, but for the character, the choice made sense
Madeleine (Top Shelf Text)
Mar 14, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2020
Thank you to Little Brown for my free review copy! All opinions are my own.

This was odd book. Both in style and in substance. And I don't want to say I disliked it, but I couldn't even begin to explain it enough to recommend to a fellow reader. What I most liked about it was the style of writing, which was flippant and had so much voice to it. But at under 200 pages, this took me a full week to read and I just didn't quite understand what the author was trying to do.

Suanne Laqueur
Aug 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
That was...really really weird. But also really kind Wonderful.
charlotte, (½ of readsrainbow)
On my blog.

Rep: gay mcs

CWs: eye horror, gore, casual racism, sexism & homophobia (inc. slurs)

The best description of this book that I can come up with is that it’s fucking weird. It’s irreverent and at times laugh-out-loud funny, but, above all, it’s an inherently odd little story.

Enter the Aardvark does not follow characters in the usual sense. Instead, it follows the journey of a taxidermied aardvark from its moment of death to the present day. When Republican congressman Wilson receives t
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I suppose there is something to be said for this book; I did finish it, after all. That is not to say that it is particularly readable, as there were long passages I had to skip over on account of the fact that I didn't really care all that much. Anthony does tease you enough to continue reading with implausible, strange plot turns and an alternation between two characters' perspectives, but beyond that I didn't find anything redeemable about this book.

It was pitched as an exercise in "knowing
Apr 13, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf, literary-fiction
I just.... this wasn't for me. This book has three main characters including a taxidermist in old London and a current Republican senator during his recent campaign. Everything was weird including the way Jessica Anthony chose to write this novel and I wasn't a fan. I don't exactly know how to explain why, it's just... weird and too much? ...more
Steve Haft
I hated pretty much everything about this book — the smirking, sneering second-person narration, the flat stock characters (anti-gay Republicans are secretly gay), the aimless plot. It had a good start, made me laugh a few times, and was mercifully short, but I was very glad when it was over.
Apr 27, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An odd book that flashes back and forward in time around a stuffed aardvark. There were some nice snarky moments, but it all lacked resolution. Just 3 stars for me.
Apr 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this a lot. I thought the parallel storylines played off each other nicely. The sadness of the story was well balanced with the humor - all the asides really cracked me up. Got a little slow in the middle but overall an enjoyable read and lots of aardvark!
May 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, reviewed, humor
Offbeat humor and political satire – what’s not to like? I don’t want to risk saying too much because discovering what an aardvark has to do with a 19th century naturalist, a taxidermist, and a modern day closeted conservative member of Congress is half the fun of this book. I’ll just say if you liked Less or A Confederacy of Dunces you’ll probably like this too. And if you watch Fox News, forget it. ...more
May 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Man, what a fun book. The wit, the pace, the dialogue, the plot, every element of this book keeps you turning pages. "Aardvark" is a wry and tender reminder that the undercurrents coursing through us are complex and powerful.

In "Aardvark" and her previous novel, "The Convalescent," Anthony draws on two storylines that converse with each other over hundreds of years—one in the current moment of the story, the other a more historical, evolutionary storyline. In each, the stories echo each other in
3.5. I actually listened to this one. My first audio book from Loved my experience. Problem with a political satire in our current climate is that it felt more like real life then satire.
Janelle Janson
I really enjoyed this little book!
May 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
this book has everything...political people...romance....aardvarks....tenderness...
Apr 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an enjoyable and fabulously engaging read! It was fast paced, immersive and thoroughly unforgettable! Definitely ached for the fellows in love, but the narrative was styled in a way that was quirky, flippant and quick, buttering the reader enough to slip through a few heartbeats calling for contemplation, yearning or despair.

The nugget of truth within this creative endeavour is really your own. This story is multifaceted and leveled in a way that allows for the how of all readers, as th
Andy Weston
Apr 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtq, contemporary
Split between contemporary Washington and Victorian England, this is a whole lot of fun, and as cross genres go, it covers many, contemporary, historical, ghost, horror and even some political satire.
In Washington Alexander Paine Wilson is a young Republican Congressman who is easily wound-up. One hot summer day, as he contemplates marriage to improve his political career, his air-conditioning fails, and a large box containing a taxidermied aardvark arrives. He is not amused.
In Victorian Londo
Jun 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What an odd novel. I think there are rather substantial chunks, including much of the ending, that don't really land. Still, the whole enterprise is so fresh and surprising that I'm not going to fuss over what doesn't work.

There is a lot of talk lately about "own voices" writers, which is great. But like everything on the internet, too many people are far too eager to appoint themselves gatekeepers. Personally, I think Anthony does a spectacular job creating specific and unstereotypical queer c
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Anthony’s short stories can be found in Best New American Voices, Best American Nonrequired Reading, New American Writing and elsewhere. She has received fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the MacDowell Colony, the Millay Colony, the Ucross Foundation, and the Maine Arts Commission. Her books have been published in a dozen countries and reviewed in The Los Angeles Times, The Wall ...more

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“... explained to him how nature is not criminal. How common it was for certain African men on expedition to engage in what might be called "reciprocal sex." How it was common for these men to declare more love for their boy wives than their girl wives. And then why wouldn't Sir Richard Oslet, the hunter said, allow himself, as such to no longer feel pain.
And that was the moment, Oslet explained, when hge realized he loved Sowning, that what he had always felt for Downing was love, and Oslet begged Downing's forgiveness.
But how could he possibly have know any sooner when there was no language to describe how he felt, no currency, and to even attempt to speak of it would have smacked of revolt, but hopeless revolt, one toward a freedom that Oslet knew did not exist. For Britian, didn't Downing know was perfectly to content to ignore them, so long as there was ambiguity. And hadn't Downing grown up reading, as Oslet had, for decades about the thousands of souls who tried to love one another unambiguously, or those who got caught and were tried allover England at the Courts of Assize, the quarter sessions, and hung? Was Downing so think as to be unaware of the Offenses Against the Person Act, asnd risk the bopth of them landing locked up for years as men were in Redding Jail...
Nature, Oslet said the hunter had said, ... unlike man does nothing in vain. God is Nature, and because God is Nature, he created nothing in vain. Therefore, the soul can never expire. It is immortal and in perpetual transit.”
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