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Animal Magnet [Paperback]

Gary Anderson
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Animal Magnet, is a wildly inventive novel in the tradition of John Barth or Thomas Pynchon spanning centuries and continents. The story begins with a forbidden love affair in the 18th century and ends three centuries years later in a futuristic L.A.
Witty and delightful.

Gary Anderson says:
Animal Magnet is a family saga that follows the illegitimate line of a tutor, Péter Montgolfier, and a lunatic scullery maid, Theresa Seyfert, in 18th century Hungary. Spanning centuries and continents, the story jumps generationally if erratically down the family tree, finally ending more than two centuries years later in a futuristic L.A. with controversial performance artist Vic Ray. Along the way, we meet a number of different family members: Ernst Seyfert, footman and fratricide; Georges d'Aubigne, suicidal playwright and républicain; Joseph Vasser, bigamist and author of the Bible II; and Jesus Ramos, the Dog-faced Boy; to name a few. Having said this, I should add that Animal Magnet is an unusual family saga, in that, it is told from numerous and at times oblique perspectives, while using various literary (and some non-literary) forms and styles. Ultimately, I think the novel grapples with the notion of humanness, human identity and humanity.

Goodreads review: If you like Pynchon and Barth, then you'll adore "Animal Magnet": I really can't recommend it more highly. "Animal Magnet" offers one of the most innovative and readable new novels that I've read in years. A cunning, bawdy tale. Gary Anderson consistently amazes in terms of his pure literary invention. It is truly rare to uncover such talent in an incredibly intelligent, literary voice at work: Gary Anderson's literary creativity is off the charts. - David B. Lentz

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5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful novel. A literary feast. Sept. 23 2011
I loved this novel. It's one of the best I have read in years. I think Gary Anderson deserves the Booker. If he wins next year, I want it to be known that I called it right here! September 23, 2011! Gary Anderson is a fantastic writer.
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5.0 out of 5 stars What a great ride! Sept. 24 2011
I really enjoyed this book. The twists and turns through time and the corresponding vernacular kept me turning the pages. I look forward to the next book from Mr. Anderson. Unfortunately I have lent the book out and lost track of where is has gone. I suspect I will buy another copy as it is worth a another read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Real Attraction of Animal Magnet Sept. 24 2011
"Animal Magnet" by Gary Anderson offers one of the most innovative and readable new novels that I've read in years: is it Barth or is it Pynchon? Each chapter represents a generation in the life of a man whom we first meet as Ernest Wilhelm Syfert, a stableboy's stableboy in the 1700s and we follow his offspring through several generations until we reach one generation beyond the current day. The narrative voice changes to reflect the writing styles of novels of that day and age. In Chapter One the narrative of Syfert reads like the style of John Barth in Ebineezer Cooke of "The Sotweed Factor" and sounds like the witty dialogue in the repartee of Mason and Dixon in Pynchon's eponymous genius novel. "Animal Magnet" is a cunning, bawdy tale and the story line is wickedly unexpected with richly, drawn characters attempting vainly and often futilely to fend off or overcome the animal passions that rule their intriguing but sordid destinies. How they all seek so earnestly some semblance of dignity and even integrity. Anderson's central theme about the laughable and often pathetic ineptness of Syfert and his progeny to master their animal instincts connects the chapters about each generation's protagonist. He is astute and inventive and truly original in the way that he drives the characters' sons into the next generation and the women that they meet. I found myself howling in every chapter at the delicious, raucous and incredibly inventive plot points in the story line where each character meets his fateful, unbridled undoing. If character is destiny, then it seems our destiny is to follow our animal instincts into no end of trouble and they may well be the death of us. How true to life is this verisimilitudinous theme? Gary Anderson consistently amazes in terms of his pure literary invention. Read more ›
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