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The Petting Zoo

A Novel

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Description

A moving, vividly rendered novel from the late author of The Basketball Diaries.

When poet, musician, and diarist Jim Carroll died in September 2009, he was putting the finishing touches on a potent work of fiction. The Petting Zoo tells the story of Billy Wolfram, an enigmatic thirty- eight-year-old artist who has become a hot star in the late-1980s New York art scene. As the novel opens, Billy, after viewing a show of Velázquez paintings, is so humbled and awed by their spiritual power that he suffers an emotional breakdown and withdraws to his Chelsea loft. In seclusion, Billy searches for the divine spark in his own work and life. Carroll's novel moves back and forth in time to present emblematic moments from Billy's life (his Irish Catholic upbringing, his teenage escapades, his evolution as an artist and meteoric rise to fame) and sharply etched portraits of the characters who mattered most to him, including his childhood friend Denny MacAbee, now a famous rock musician; his mentor, the unforgettable art dealer Max Bernbaum; and one extraordinary black bird. Marked by Carroll's sharp wit, hallucinatory imagery, and street-smart style, The Petting Zoo is a frank, haunting examination of one artist's personal and professional struggles.

Publishers Weekly Review

Sep 20, 2010 – Basketball Diaries author Carroll's slightly rough posthumous novel about a famous painter's breakdown begins as painter Billy Wolfram has a psychotic episode, wanders about the Central Park petting zoo, threatens strangers, and is picked up and committed to a mental hospital for observation. Upon his release, Billy returns home and goes into "reclusion," brooding on events in his past (such as his mother's death), watching old TV shows, and receiving visits from a Central Park zoo raven who talks to Billy about the flood (the raven was on Noah's ark), art, and the emptiness in Billy's life. Other than his assistant, Marta, Billy's only real visitor is his childhood friend, rock star Denny, leaving him plenty of time for introspection that leads back to Kennedy's assassination, which coincided with Billy's mother catching him masturbating. Since then, Billy has frozen out his sexual feelings, and, as it turns out, Marta would love to thaw them. Although Carroll's prose is uneven—clever and profound sentences jostle awkwardly with lumbering, bathos-soaked platitudes—and the narrative tension is rather slack, this is a heartfelt portrait of a New York original by a New York original.

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The Petting Zoo
View In iTunes
  • $12.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: Nov 04, 2010
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
  • Print Length: 336 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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