NOTES FROM AN UNDERWATER ZOO by Don C. Reed

NOTES FROM AN UNDERWATER ZOO

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The head diver of Marine World/Africa U.S.A., whose main job is to clean the tanks while whales, sharks, dolphins, and other sea mammals hover about, has bad some unusual encounters with these creatures--but he persists in seeing himself as an underwater Tarzan. . . with a leer. His stories revolve mainly around sex and aggression. Take, for instance, Lucky the lascivious dolphin, who'd charge Reed's leg ""with his lunging lower portions""--to the delight, says Reed, of a watching grandmother (""Her wrinkles and age spots and the painful-looking swellings around her finger joints said seventy years and social security. . . . But the expression on her giggling face said twenty-one. . .""). Or, take the lovemaking o f killer whales Yaka and Nepo (""Her pink tongue extruded slightly, and she ran it down toward his genital slit,"" etc.). Then, there are the gory details of those (rare) instances when Reed's been attacked or accidentally harmed--jaws snapping, vertebrae popping, ribs cracking. Now and again, too, there are passages of some sensitivity--like the all-night vigil to save the life of Ernestine the dying dolphin, or the successful transplant of Yaka's jealous rival, Kianu--but they help only slightly to compensate for Reed's misdirected machismo.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1981
Publisher: Dial