Bunyan’s Guide to the Great American Wildlife by Quentin Canterel What happens when the Manhattan zoo empties its cages? John, part radicalized anarchist, part ticking time bomb, is haunted by a particular story, that of Willow, a 9-year old mute who flees to New York after her brutal rape. The only way his girlfriend, Felicity, can stop the clock counting down is by disentangling the riddle of their pasts, before their entwined futures are blown to pieces.
Quentin Canterel’s second novel presents a collage of voices, dead and alive, in a unique and unnerving novel that experiments with form, structure and language. Truly a mystery shrouded in an enigma.
Oh, muses, what shall we say about Felicity: Church of England, slender, little beanpole, waxy pallor of a holy relic, blush of a broken rose, cupid bow lips, preternatural and possibly, yes probably, possessed. And you, John, black raven-haired, androgynous locks, the faintest of crow’s feet, fashionably skinny and, for a man, certainly heteroclite. Thin voice and long fingers, slender lips always a snide remark away from disaster. “U ARE A SHITHEAD” In those days (really the cigarette butts of nights snuffed out at 2 or 3a.m), your daily toil up Hill Lucre began at six crossing paths in the Financial District with By-ends and that unrestful gaggle of carbon suited I-bankers. In the fogs and snows of February, the city was given over to grisaille. Always late, you hopped on the R line. Arriving, at Rector Street, only to be met by “that Basilisk”, your boss, the abdominous Mr Skill. For months, you toiled in that “slick glass dick”, temping for $14.50 an hour. What prosperity! “These shitheads are virtually throwing money out the windows. Bankers paying me for next to nothing.” It was then, while collecting rejection slips from small magazines, that you began The Guide. In between fits of all-nighters, you’d invite me round and we became a threesome, united by a common hatred of clubs, house music, and nouvelle French cafes. Building, by fits and starts, our own little mutual admiration society… I remember us once being stuck uptown at an illegal rave, the Russians and Israelites taking turns spinning their trance, the base tones detonating like little depth charges through the low hum of gas generators. We swayed in the summer heat and leaned against a tree stump as a police boat cast its fiery eye through the surrounding trees, setting each branch aflame. You somehow managed to share a bitter pill of ecstasy with that tenderest of Felicities so that the world nudged against you like purest organza silk.