Eating Mammals: Three Novellas

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9780060591755: Eating Mammals: Three Novellas

In the tradition of T. C. Boyle,
Steven Millhauser, and Michel Faber -- with a penchant for
the macabre worthy of Irvine Welsh -- comes Eating Mammals.

Gypsies, businessmen, servants, masters, and unwise children come together in three mythical tales from Victorian England. Eating Mammals evokes a lost time and place in which the realm of the magical seems almost too possible: a winged cat wreaks havoc in a Yorkshire workhouse and then in the minds of a succession of owners; a famed stunt eater introduces his apprentice, Captain Gusto, to the delicate art of devouring anything for a living; a blooming romance between two meat-pie makers leads thirty-two adorned donkeys to the altar. Wholly original and as assured as folklore, Eating Mammals marks the arrival of a very distinctive new voice.

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About the Author:

John Barlow is a native of West Yorkshire who has taught at universities in both England and Spain. He is the author of Eating Mammals and lives in Spain.

From School Library Journal:

Adult/High School - Barlow takes readers on a wildly imaginative tour of Yorkshire, England. The title story is the best wrought and most memorable. Bulky Irishman Michael Mulligan makes his way through Europe's barrooms and society halls as a professional eater, taking bets to consume the most ridiculous, impossible, and disgusting things imaginable. Piles of roast cod, a brass plate, and even a chair fall to the might of his superior digestive tract. All is told from the point of view of his protégé, the self-dubbed Captain Gusto, who reflects back on the colorfully impossible career of his master as he faces his own most vile eating wager. "The Possession of Thomas-Bessie" tells the tale of a cat born with a pair of fully functional wings. The feline bounces from owner to owner, from businessman to carnival entrepreneur, all trying to fulfill their own designs and desires through ownership of the cat. "The Donkey Wedding at Gomersal" is a fable involving love, meat pies, weddings, and a 32-donkey parade. The sweet, oddly rambling style sets readers up well for the surprise at the end. Told in a simplified Victorian, almost Poe-like prose, these stories successfully walk a difficult and fine line between the magical and the ridiculously probable. Barlow turns what could be simple folktales into delectable little appetizers of character and circumstance, whetting the appetite for more such literary feasts. - Matthew L. Moffett, Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale
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