The Animal Sciences

by Ron Hotz
ISBN: 1552451224

Post Your Opinion
A Review of: The Animal Sciences
by W.P. Kinsella

Odd is the first word that comes to mind to describe this novel. However, a number of synonyms also apply: atypical, deviant, aberrant, abnormal, irregular, peculiar, eccentric. There are five characters: Kookla, a strange, troubled 20-something woman, whose unlikely name is never explained; Robin, her ex-boyfriend, an failed medical student who may be several cards short of a full deck; Autumn (a male) who is also a current/ex-boyfriend; Duffer (a male) who is a platonic friend of Kookla, but would probably like to be more; and Igor, an immigrant whose only purpose in the book seems to be that he owns a broken down car, and tells bizarre stories. These five are mixed like chemicals in an experiment. It is often difficult to tell if you are in the present or past, as Hotz reveals more and more about the characters. Eventually, it appears that the story is actually going somewhere, and the final pages are suspenseful, and the ending is, well, odd, but in many ways satisfying. The novel relies on one of the most annoying gimmicks I've ever encountered. The opening of each section employs a key word from the previous section. For example: The ending: "Autumn picked up the telephone receiver and called the number. The beginning: "Number...number... Kookla's eyes swept the apartment directory." And, The ending: "Looking right back at him with a black mascara wink, was a woman's artificial eyelash." The beginning: "Eyelash on your cheekbone," said Duffer. Consider that it happens about 30 times in this short novel. Good novels don't need gimmicks. Gimmicks do nothing to enhance bad novels.

Home First Novel Award Past Winners Subscription Back Issues Timescroll Advertizing Rates
Amazon.ca/Books in Canada Bestsellers List Books in Issue Books in Department About Us