Animal Husbandry

Laura Zigman, Author Dial Press $22.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-385-31900-3
The war between the sexes gets a fresh interpretation in Zigman's witty and entertaining first novel. Her conceit--using the mating habits of the animal kingdom to explain male courting behavior and female responses--makes for rollicking fun. Even if it flags somewhat in the novel's last third, her story of a woman ardently pursued and wooed, then unceremoniously dumped, carries emotional clout. Narrator Jane Goodall (""not the Jane Goodall"") is a resourceful talent booker for a TV talk show. When Ray Brown, the program's sexy and appealingly needy executive producer, captivates Jane with a whirlwind courtship, she can't believe her happiness. Then he abruptly drops her cold. Stunned by pain and disbelief, Jane has a sudden insight that she calls ""The Old-Cow-New-Cow"" theory. Ray's caddish behavior, she feels, comes from the same natural source that makes bulls refuse to mate with the same cow twice. Now homeless because she had given up her apartment to move into a new place with Ray, Jane becomes obsessed with assembling more scientific facts that can explain the fecklessness of men, including her new roommate, lothario Eddie Alden. Zigman's triumph here is to invest the old story of a woman scorned with fresh contemporary relevance, while also conveying the universal poignancy of heartbreak. Her portrayal of single Manhattanites, male and female, is right on the mark, as her eye ranges over everything from their office etiquette to their after-hours amusements, cultural icons, verbal tics and dress-down clothes. The narrative loses credibility toward the end when Jane adopts a transparent pseudonym to write articles for a men's magazine, after which she is shattered by a surprise that readers will have guessed early on. Still, in her ability to evoke the emotions of a woman in the throes of passionate love, followed by abject despair, succeeded by a fierce desire for revenge, Zigman will touch a responsive chord. BOMC and PBC selections; audio to Audio Renaissance; author tour; foreign rights sold in 13 countries; film rights to Fox 2000, Linda Obst producer. (Jan.) FYI: Zigman is a publishing insider, having worked in the promotions departments at Turtle Bay Press and Knopf .
Reviewed on: 12/01/1997
Release date: 12/01/1997
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-385-31903-4
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-55927-489-0
Hardcover - 388 pages - 978-0-7862-1434-1
Video, VHS Format
Video, VHS Format
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7927-2368-4
Open Ebook - 171 pages - 978-0-307-82832-3
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