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FAMILY by Gregory Morton



Pub Date: June 26th, 1980
Publisher: Citadel

A starving coyote family comes down from the Hollywood Hills to seek food in contemporary Los Angeles--in an appalling little novella that could only have been written in Southern California. You see, because of ""the non-negotiable demands"" of greedy Man, the hills are being urbanized--so Mr. Coyote and his new mate (""Their discovery of one another became a part of the cosmic rhythm"") have trouble eating; there's only the occasional lizard. And things are worse when baby coyotes come along. But the loving family sticks together (""Their bloodstreams ran as one. Their joys streamed in the wind""), even as it's forced to go further and further from safe country to dangerous, settled areas for grubhunting. There's a tussle with a Doberman (daddy coyote loses an ear), and when the garbage-can-robbing coyotes are spotted by humans, ""Nonsensical overreaction gripped the community."" The inevitable finale: coyotes caught in traps (""smashed to the earth and marked with the stigma of man""), coyotes shot at by bloodthirsty teenagers (""Like conspirators, with a sensuality more titillating than masturbation. . .""). There may be a valid environmental point at the bottom of all this--but it's thoroughly buried in vacuous sentimentality and the kind of excruciating cosmic-pretentious prose (""In the threatening world, disharmonious, this energy-crammed gift, this silent transference outside the bounds of logic. . ."") that elementary creative-writing classes were invented to protect us from.