Russell Banks, Temple Grandin, and other renowned writers contemplate animals—and the way our own species interacts with them.
Conjunctions: 61, A Menagerie gathers essays, fiction, and poetry that imagine the world of our fellow beings, animals. Cultural mythologies and pantheons are populated with snakes, monkeys, cats, jackals, whales: a cast of characters whose stories reveal how complex and wildly contradictory our species’ relationship with other animals is. They’re friends, enemies, tools, food. Descartes deliberated about whether animals have souls, deciding they didn’t. Linnaeus cataloged them. Darwin connected us to them. Wild or tame, sinless or soulless, the animal is a chimera of shifting identities, both mundane and mysterious. Featuring interviews with William S. Burroughs and Temple Grandin, essays by animal experimenters Vint Virga and Dale Peterson, fiction by Russell Banks and Joyce Carol Oates, and work by many others, this collection of imaginative new writing offers uncaged access to the lives of the nonhuman creatures that surround us.