The Petting Zoo

Jim Carroll, Viking, $25.95 (332p) ISBN 978-0-670-02218-2
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. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/20/2010
Release date: 11/01/2010
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-14-312009-4
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-61707-011-2
Compact Disc - 978-1-4001-1877-9
Compact Disc - 978-1-4001-4877-6
MP3 CD - 978-1-4001-6877-4
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-101-44526-6
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