Synopses & Reviews
From Italy, a wildly modern riff on Ovid’s Metamorphoses
—a whirlwind of ironic fables in which the central hero, Viskovitz, continually changes identities in pursuit of his one true love.
A snail with two sexes, a parrot who speaks of love, a dormouse who has erotic dreams, a police dog who’s a Buddhist, a microbe with an inferiority complex, a lion in love with a gazelle, a chameleon hoping to find himself, an intestinal worm, a dung beetle . . . Viskovitz is each of these animals and many more, possessed by their behaviors, their neuroses, their vanities. And the gorgeous and impossible Ljuba, the object of Viskovitz’s desire, is in turn a sow, a bitch, a gazelle. There is an animal passion between them that lasts from story to story, but it is the fullness of the human condition that is portrayed most vividly in these hilarious metamorphoses.
Dazzling beginnings lead into plots full of surprises, ranging from slapstick to Western, from cautionary tale to thriller. Scientific jargon is turned into wordplay and witty aphorism; theatrical reversals and philosophical insights abound.
You’re an Animal, Viskovitz! is a triumph of comic inventiveness and intelligence unlike anything we’ve seen before.
"[A] delightful, clever debut collection....Boffa's writing crackles with humor...and wonderfully worded descriptions....Whimsically combining scientific lingo and specific biological argot with candid vernacular, he creates a series of engaging dichotomies of high and low, sacred and profane." Publishers Weekly
"[S]mart and wickedly funny satirical fables....[Boffa] has concocted a scientifically accurate, gleefully sexy, and philosophically mischievous improvisation on Ovid's Metamorphoses." Donna Seaman, Booklist
"Bestial passions, animalesque adventures, indecent metamorphoses, the sophisticated humor of You're an Animal, Viskovitz! strikes like lightening....Viskovitz is a bizarre protagonist who embodies a wide array of animals: a hermaphrodite slug, a male praying mantis longing to be eaten by his lover, a drug abusing police dog, a chameleon having an identity crisis, a microbe with an inferiority complex. Naturally, each of his manifestations become a parable for the human condition, for good and for evil, and the book often reads like a 'conte philosophique,' but its pleasure and irony are explosive....This is an enchanting little book and Boffa's is an extraordinary talent." L'Espresso
"Desire and joy, fear and survival, sex and love, death and identity issues, cruelty, illusions and delusions....Boffa's themes are universal and eternal, his story-telling brilliant." Il Sole 24 Ore
"A pinwheel of invention containing gags of the highest literary ambition, these are irresistible stories about bizarre and comic animals made up by a fable-spinning biologist in the computer age." Francesca Durante, La Repubblica delle Donne
"It is an age old literary exercise to speak truths about man through the voices of animals from Aesop to Leonardo Da Vinci to La Fontaine....Adding Chaplinesque humor to the mix, Boffa's circus is a mirror that reflects back at us a savagely funny image of who we are." Tuttolibri
"Written with the originality of an inventor by ex-biologist Boffa, these twenty stories soaked with morality and metaphor trace the multiple lives of an animal named Viskovitz and comprise a hilarious and highly theatrical compendium of the passions displayed by the animal called man." Corriere della Sera
In this wickedly hilarious collection of fables, Alessandro Boffa introduces us to Viskovitz and his never-ending search for his true love, Ljuba. As he changes from a lovelorn lion to a jealous finch, from a confused dung beetle to an enlightened police dog, Viskovitz embraces his metamorphoses with wry humor and an oftentimes painful sense of self.
As an ant, Viskovitz fights his way to the top where his egotism calls on the colony to create a monument to his greatness out of a piece of bread. As a sponge, he is horrified by the inbreeding in his family—“Im my own mother-in-law!!!”—and yearns for a change in current so he can mate with Ljuba, who lies downstream. As a mantis, he asks his mother what his father was like, only to hear, “Crunchy. A bit salty. High in fiber.” Unfortunately, when he meets Ljuba shortly thereafter, he follows his fathers fate. And as a scorpion, his uncontrollably deadly efficiency meets its match in Ljuba and finds “no way to escape this intolerable, sinister happiness.”
About the Author
Alessandro Boffa was born in Moscow. He completed his studies in biology in Rome, and now divides his time between Italy and Thailand. This is his first book.