Synopses & Reviews
Beginning with Yuka, a 39,000 year old mummified woolly mammoth recently found in the Siberian permafrost, each of the 16 essays in Animals Strike Curious Poses investigates a different famous animal named and immortalized by humans. Modeled loosely after a medieval bestiary, these witty, playful, whipsmart essays traverse history, myth, science, and more, bringing each beast vibrantly to life.
"Animals Strike Curious Poses turns the bestiary inside out, holds the mummified mammoth heart up against our own, and, from the braided ventricles, springboards into intoxicating and animated meditations on our penchant for ownership via naming, our drive to saddle the world and its creatures with our weary, ponderous patronymics, and the attendant and cockeyed faux-fame. This book is a gift to us from one of the best, most important, and most exciting essayists of the 21st century." Matthew Gavin Frank, author of The Mad Feast and Preparing the Ghost: An Essay Concerning the Giant Squid and Its First Photographer
"This phenomenal collection documents the lives of particular animals from a wide range of species.... Passarello treats her subjects with dextrous care, weaving narratives together in a way that investigates, honors, and complicates her subjects.... Passarello has created a consistently original, thoroughly researched, altogether fascinating compendium." Booklist (Starred Review)
"Stunning.... Passarello’s keen wit is on display throughout as she raises questions about the uniqueness of humans.... A feast of surprising juxtapositions and gorgeous prose." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
About the Author
Elena Passarello is an actor, a writer, and recipient of a 2015 Whiting Award. Her first collection with Sarabande Books, Let Me Clear My Throat, won the gold medal for nonfiction at the 2013 Independent Publisher Awards and was a finalist for the 2014 Oregon Book Award. Her essays on performance, pop culture, and the natural world have been published in Oxford American, Slate, Creative Nonfiction, and The Iowa Review, among other publications, as well as in the 2015 anthologies Cat is Art Spelled Wrong and After Montaigne: Contemporary Essayists Cover the Essay. Passarello lives in Corvallis, Oregon and teaches at Oregon State University.