PILGRIMS IN THE ZOO by Bruce Brooks

PILGRIMS IN THE ZOO

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This is a collection of six short stories which takes its theme from a passage in Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain: ""...For to be man was to be ailing. Man was essentially ailing, his state of unhealthiness was what made him man. Men consciously and voluntarily descended into disease and madness, in search of knowledge which, acquired by fanaticism, would lead back to health..."" The Pilgrims in the Zoo are the spirit's tatterdemalion wayfarers, hopelessly lost in derangement of the senses, dangling in the Voids created by their surrealistic imagings. The Eye of Nature is a homosexual nightmare in which the dreamer seeks atonement in a submission to debauchery and sadism; in A Memoir of Sardis Birchard an ill-fated family, submerged in necrophilia, tries to come to terms with their inheritance; and in Some Ancient Roaches the protagonist becomes an agent of activity through his rambles in the dim-lit world of drug addiction and insanity. But the Pilgrims, accompanied by their desperate memorabilia, have no Shrine and their journey promises not purgation but, at best, oblivion. Written from the point of view of the book's untrustworthy witnesses this excursion into grotesquerie proves to be only dismal.

Pub Date: May 25th, 1960
Publisher: Beacon Press