Friday, 30 August 2019

A wicked bestiary

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Wicked Bestiary Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk is both the title of David Sedaris's book and one of its animal tales. Few humans appear in the stories, and when they do, it's usually as a harbinger of pain or death for the creature concerned. Many of the tales are humorous, even more are dark, but then the habits of birds, animals, reptiles and amphibians can be pretty disgusting when humans judge them against those of themselves.

For humour, I enjoyed The Cat and the Baboon. The Toad, The Turtle, and the Duck made me feel uncomfortable, and The Crow and the Lamb was pure horror. The Vigilant Rabbit got what he deserved, but for sheer ridiculous entertainment, The Grieving Owl topped them all.

The book's subtitle, A Wicked Bestiary, indicates that the stories are fables, but they're more like fairy tales. Do we still need lessons in morality as adults? People follow the rules and yet horrible things happen. Humans do nasty things for the sake of survival. As the Crow says, "I have to do what I have to do."

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