In Lisa Taddeo's debut novel, Joan lugs with her generations of sexual trauma and a generalized mood to kill on a trip from New York to California. She wants to infiltrate a life she saw on the cover of a magazine a while back, and so she makes tracks for a studio run by a famous yogi. Joan's trip was sparked when her lover shot himself in a restaurant near the table where she was on a date with a different lover, one she preferred. The trip included a fling with a man named John Ford, just because he had the same name as the director of old Westerns and securing an apartment in a little community that includes a famous hip-hop star, a good-looking dude in a yurt, and an elderly man who sometimes cannot tell Joan apart from his late wife.

The novel is written like a letter to a child, one conceived like the character in a song by Heart. Taddeo, whose bestseller "Three Women" was the result of a journalistic look at the lives and desires of her subjects, writes colorful sentences in a wry voice, and her protagonist is just remorseless enough to collect on some emotional debts.

Title: "Animal"

Author: Lisa Taddeo

Publisher: Avid Reader Press/ Simon & Schuster

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Pages: 332

Christa Lawler is a features reporter for the News Tribune and enjoys reading a variety of books. Write to her at clawler@duluthnews.com and follower her on Twitter @DNTAnE.
Christa Lawler is a features reporter for the News Tribune and enjoys reading a variety of books. Write to her at clawler@duluthnews.com and follower her on Twitter @DNTAnE.