The Giraffe

The Giraffe

1.0 1
by Marie Nimier

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Childhood feelings of abandonment manifest themselves in many adult disorders: in this literate and profoundly perverse novel, a lonely man becomes obsessed with an animal over which he has complete control. As a boy, narrator Joseph-who was raised by foster parents and communicated with his widowed, alcoholic father through letters-torments his adoptive family's dog until it goes insane. ``I never liked animals.... There is something in their way of resembling us that I can't stand.'' Yet, at 18, he gets a job at the Vincennes Zoo in Paris, where he cares for a young giraffe named Solange. Joseph tends Solange with cool efficiency at first. But when he accidentally discovers a 19th-century painting of a giraffe and its African keeper, Yussef, he imagines that he and Solange are the subjects reincarnated. Though he behaves antisocially toward his human co-workers, Joseph/Yussef begins lavishing attention on Solange. He reads to her, waiting in vain for some sign of understanding. When he senses that she is flirting with an ostrich in a neighboring cage, he murders the bird. His monologue is at once disarmingly funny, pathetic and sinister. Nimier capably limns a character who hates domestic creatures' dependency and derives guilty, sexual pleasure from sadistic memories. Only after Joseph allows Solange to die-a fate divulged in the book's first sentence-can he acknowledge that he loved her. The narrative loses momentum in the aftermath of Solange's death, but the substantial force and wit of Joseph's words retain their stunning effect. Nimier has published five novels in France; this one was a finalist for the Prix Goncourt. (May)

Product Details

Avalon Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
4.77(w) x 6.82(h) x 0.87(d)

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The Giraffe 1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For anyone who loves animals, do NOT buy this book. I love reading & donate books whenever possible. When our local library started throwing books out, I was one of the first to save them. This is the only book I ever enjoyed destroying. It is a sick story of animal abuse, with no plot or purpose. Do not waste your money buying this book. The only reason I gave it a one star rating was because B&N didn't have a 'no star' rating. My real rating would be MINUS 1 star.