book cover of Animal Acts

Animal Acts

A novel by

Steven and Linda Morris have an ideal marriage: intimate, open, collegial, comfortable. They have known each other as lovers and friends long enough to raise three children, to settle boundaries, to accumulate things.
Steven has fallen asleep with The New Yorker rising and falling on the shores of his chest. It is our marriage, that magazine, with all its richness of things, its collections of culture, fur coats, pearls, four-star hotels, and the stories, mostly the stories, in which, as in our marriage, nothing happens. . . . We've talked about the magazine, almost talking about our lives. "Why would you want anything to happen in a story? Why would you want change?" he'd ask.
Change was the enemy. . . . But something disturbed. Something out there rattled in the cornstalks, something I feared so deeply I was afraid to sleep on my own balcony at night. . . . And I was well aware that that something was, somehow, my self.
Linda Morris is about to make a major change in her life. She is about to leave her best friend, who is her husband, and to leave her lover, who just may be a contract killer and who is, she suspects, out to kill her, contract or no. She is about to run away with a gorilla.
Animal Acts is a quest novel unlike any we have seen before. On the surface, it is an antic tale for our times, the story of a woman of a certain age who runs away from her perfect husband and her dangerous lover only to find that she has unintentionally run away with a full-grown gorilla. On a deeper level, it is an exploration of the human-animal bond: Beginning as a search for self-consciousness, it ends in animal consciousness. En route, it puts a controversial spin on evolutionary theory, producing what can only be called the inevitable next stage in the gender wars. And through it all, Rhoda Lerman - magician, conjuror, word-juggler - persuades us along her manic path.

Genre: Romance

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