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The Petting Zoo de Jim Carroll
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The Petting Zoo (edição: 2011)

de Jim Carroll (Autor)

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12617168,100 (2.94)9
While attending a reception for a Velázquez exhibition at the Met, Billy Wolfram, a young, famous, and talented artist, undergoes an anxiety attack that calls into question his own artistic abilities, his identity, and his sanity. As Billy's crisis begins to threaten the completion of new works for a forthcoming show, he's visited by a talking raven who claims to have been on Noah's ark.… (mais)
Membro:shabay3
Título:The Petting Zoo
Autores:Jim Carroll (Autor)
Informação:Penguin Group (2011), Edition: Revised ed., 336 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
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The Petting Zoo de Jim Carroll

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Carroll's only novel published posthumously. There are some great moments in this somewhat autobiographical story when Carroll's characteristic humor and wit shine through. He died before completing the final revisions which may account for why the last third of narrative seems a bit muddled. ( )
  Sullywriter | Apr 3, 2013 |
In the ever changing, ever influential art scene of New York City, enigmatic artist Billy Wolfram views a show of Velazquez at the Met, causing him to have an emotional breakdown and to reconsider his life. Through his search for the divine spark to relight his personal life and work ethic, he revisits crucial parts of his past and present life, including his Irish Catholic upbringing and his teenage escapades, as well as the influential individuals in his sudden rise to artistic fame.
  SalemAthenaeum | Jun 16, 2011 |
“O great creator of being/grant us one more hour to/perform our art/& perfect our lives” An American Prayer, Jim Morrison

“The Petting Zoo” is a poet’s look back, not only at his life, but the art, celebrity, and the ideas that guided him. “The Petting Zoo” was Jim Carroll’s first and last novel, he died shortly before putting the finishing edits on the book. For those fans of Carroll’s or books with a poetic bent, “The Petting Zoo” is a must read.

Most people are aware of Jim Carroll through “The Basketball Diaries” either the 1978 book or the 1995 movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Carroll also fronted The Jim Carroll Band which released one album “Catholic Boy.” But Carroll was foremost a poet, and had his poems published and lauded while still in his teens (“Living at the Movies”). I’ve been a fan of Carroll’s work since The Jim Carroll Band, and have read most of his poetry. When I ran across “The Petting Zoo” I was a little hesitant because sometimes poets don’t come across well when they move to the novel. The esoteric ideas that work well in poems just don’t translate that well to fiction. But I over came that objection and let curiosity and my liking of Carroll’s earlier work to sway me, and I bought it, and I was glad I did.

“The Petting Zoo” is an artists look backwards at his life. Carroll’s character surrogate is Billy Wolfram a New York painter who at mid-life is suffering a crisis of just about every order from insecurity in his work, to women problems, and even the lack of spirituality in his work. During an opening, Billy is driven into the New York night by these newly manifested demons where he meets a crow that talks to him. Billy is then taken to a mental hospital for observation. Upon his release Billy reassess every area of his life with the occasional guiding insight from the crow, a crow that is older and has a much more complicated relationship with humanity than it at first seems. “The Petting Zoo” isn’t “The Basketball Diaries” the middle aged years. If anything, it reminds me more of Patti Smith’s “Just Kids,” it has the same feel. Maybe that shouldn’t be too surprising, New York as a locale is a highlight of both books, as well the artists looking back at their careers, Smith non-fictionally at the early, optimistic years she shared with Robert Mapplethorpe, and Carroll at the whole career of an artist and aspects of a career that Smith in “Just Kids” would have considered their wildest dreams.

Writers have cast themselves or their fictional alter egos as artists before, Hemingway and Vonnegut to name a couple. It seems a good simile for a writer especially a poet to identify with. Poets have to use words thickly like the painter’s colors, words thick with meaning, and Carroll doesn’t waste any words, each seems carefully chosen. I usually read fast but I found myself slowing down to enjoy the lyricism of Carroll’s writing, enjoying the sensation of Carroll’s words soaking in like a drug. There’s almost a tactile feel to Carroll’s imagery. He remembers sensations and translates that sense memory very ably to the reader. I rarely highlight passages in books or make annotations, but I found myself doing both throughout the book, finding passages either strikingly insightful or poetic. Such as the story of why a baby cries upon being born is mesmerizing and a beautiful perspective. This is a book I didn’t want to finish, not because it was bad but because I wanted to savor, to maximize the ecstatic state the writing put me in.

I quoted Jim Morrison at the top of this review because that is how Jim Carroll lived his life, as an artist. He reportedly died at his desk writing until the end trying to get that “one more hour” to perform his art. You can look at “The Petting Zoo” as an attempt to perfect his life. I remember from his poems he wrote of wanting to be “pure” and the thought is the same as Morrison’s to “perfect our lives” with “The Petting Zoo” being an attempt to find that purity or perfection, as if it were a literary ablution.

I wonder if Carroll was aware of his imminent mortality, a lot of “The Petting Zoo” seems valedictory. If anyone knows Carroll’s earlier work they know he embraced and struggled with his Catholic upbringing, especially in light of the life he led. A lot of “The Petting Zoo” questions whether we’re blind to our own problems that outsiders can easily see, faith and religion is one of the possible solutions he considered and continued to struggle with, the remnants of that early “Catholic Boy” faith remained with him longer than most and until the end.

I know a lot of people won’t “get” this book, there are a few shortcomings like towards the end some of the dialogue all of the sudden comes at you in big chunks, maybe because Carroll died before he had a chance to polish it. There are discussions of aesthetics, I know that usually doesn’t inspire the fiction reader towards a book but Carroll crafted this novel so well, the fluidity and lyricism of the writing is compelling. I hope people give this book a try. We’ve all played the game where we’re asked if we had only one book, one movie, one anything on a deserted island what would that be? I think “The Petting Zoo” would be the book I choose. ( )
  JimCherry | Mar 12, 2011 |
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

So before anything else, let me make it clear that I'm as big a fan of Jim Carroll's The Basketball Diaries as anyone else, his 1978 memoir about growing up in '60s Manhattan as a working-class sports star, sex fiend and teenage heroin addict, which eventually led to the punk-era Jim Carroll Band that achieved the same kind of minor notoriety as, say, his buddy Patti Smith; so I was as excited as anyone else when hearing that Carroll had been tinkering around with a new novel for the last decade of his life (he died in 2009), during a period where we now know that he was essentially turning slowly into a mentally unstable recluse, and that this novel was finally being published posthumously as The Petting Zoo, including an introductory note by Smith herself. But alas, instead of this being Carroll's graceful swan song, it's more of a rambling, inconsequential footnote to what was admittedly a remarkable career, a wisp of a story that's billed as "autobiographical" but that in reality concerns an only vaguely developed middle-aged visual artist at the end of the 1980s, a painter who's much more famous with the general public than any fine-art painter could've actually been by the end of Postmodernism, which already gives the story a kind of unrealistic urban fairytale vibe, and then is filled with the kind of ten-page fluffy philosophical digressions you would exactly expect from an author who was by then sometimes going entire weeks without human contact, growing an unruly Howard Hughes beard and puttering around the same semi-squalid apartment building where he literally grew up. It's not exactly a surprise that an aging artist's last project would pack more of a whimper instead of a bang, but it's nonetheless worth noting when it's true, with The Petting Zoo being much more for completists and hardcore fans than for a general reading audience. It should be kept in mind before picking it up yourself.

Out of 10: 7.7 ( )
  jasonpettus | Jan 26, 2011 |
Esta resenha foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Resenhistas do LibraryThing.
The Petting Zoo, Jim Carroll's posthumous published novel, is an ardent, intimate, and somewhat autobiographical ode that the poet and novelist had been weaving and reconstructing for the last decade. In an ironical twist, Carroll died of a heart attack a year before he could experience and revel in the lyrical effect his first and last novel would have on the world, albeit in a quiet way. Some argue that The Petting Zoo is the troubled Carroll's farewell to the world.

In The Petting Zoo, Carroll's novel is juxtaposed with his previous chef d'oeuvre, The Basketball Diaries, which chronicles memoirs of a poetic addict whose beatific soul shines through. In the novel, protagonist Billy Wolfram, artist and emotional hermit, experiences an anxiety attack during an art exhibition at the Met. Billy's fraught emotional balance makes him increasingly self-deprecating bordering on insecure and tethering on the edge wherein his art and his very sanity hang in the balance. Without giving the eloquent though harried novel away, this oddly touching, ultimately tragic and heartbreakingly humane tale deserves intense discussion time and time again. ( )
1 vote Sarine | Dec 18, 2010 |
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While attending a reception for a Velázquez exhibition at the Met, Billy Wolfram, a young, famous, and talented artist, undergoes an anxiety attack that calls into question his own artistic abilities, his identity, and his sanity. As Billy's crisis begins to threaten the completion of new works for a forthcoming show, he's visited by a talking raven who claims to have been on Noah's ark.

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