THE LEMMING CONDITION by Alan Arkin

THE LEMMING CONDITION

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The satire in Arkin's fable about a young lemming who questions and eventually escapes his species' periodic mass suicide is obvious and his implicit message commonplace, but Arkin has such a light touch and a sharp ear that he more than gets away with it. The crow who first starts Bubber thinking is an entertainingly flip sharpie, and then Bubber meets an old lemming hermit, a curmudgeon who provides some feisty reinforcement: ""If I'm going to commit suicide I'll do it when I damn well please, and not when someone blows a whistle."" There is amusing recognition too in Bubber's solid citizen uncle and blandly accepting cousin--but these lemmings are not just people in disguise; it's their animal natures that become awesomely evident when they all begin to station themselves tensely at their burrow doorways, and then slowly, blindly, to follow that biological imperative westward. The human/lemming parallels thus work both ways--but don't forget that Bubber successfully resists. A winner.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1976
Page count: 64pp
Publisher: Harper & Row