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The Bestiary by Nicholas Christopher
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The Bestiary (2007)

by Nicholas Christopher

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I kept reading all the way to the last word to find out what happened to Xeno and his quest for the Caravan Bestiary. Nicholas Christopher is a wonderful writer. I have been to some of the places in the book and his words made me feel like I was transported back there. I could smell the rain in the forest in Italy, feel the dust blowing against my ankles walking up the cobblestones…

That being said, this book made me furious. I threw it across the room after I finished and screamed some things my mom would still wash my mouth out if she heard. Why? Because it could have been a great book. The seeds are there.

The kindest way I can summarize all the things wrong with the book is to say I felt like the author was holding back.

TAKE THE LEAP MAN!
( )
  memccauley6 | May 3, 2016 |
A man's story of his lifelong quest of a book called the Caravan Bestiary. As interesting the basic plot is as boring the book can be sometimes. It was said on the cover to be "fast-paced' and 'like the Da Vinci code" but neither of is true. Has it own merits but don't expect someting very action-packed. And the 'magical realistic' part of it is a little weak too.... ( )
1 vote TheCrow2 | Jul 4, 2013 |
eh. Got about halfway through, decided I didn't care if he found the damn book or not. ( )
1 vote JenneB | Apr 2, 2013 |
An easy read, maybe not as good as a trip to the stars. But then again, maybe the slower pace of the pook is a benefit. Sometimes I wished, that the persons in would have shown more detail. ( )
1 vote chworm | Dec 11, 2011 |
Xeno Atlas searches for the legendary Caravan Bestiary, a purportedly beautiful manuscript that lists the mythical creatures that were denied passage on Noah's Ark. Like "Da Vinci Code" without the car chases.

Why I picked it up: I love Christopher's novel "Veronica," and was looking for something that was similarly dreamlike.

Why I finished it: Almost didn't; the story bogs. Xenos' life story is episodic, and few of the episodes have much momentum. While I didn't care what happened to him or to those he knew, I did come to care whether he found the Bestiary.

I'd give it to: readers who like bibliographic quest tales: characters searching through libraries and churches for snippets of lost poems and such. ( )
1 vote yarmando | Mar 20, 2011 |
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The first beast I laid eyes on was my father.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385337361, Hardcover)

From “a writer of remarkable gifts,” “Borges with emotional weight, comes a tale that is at once a fantastical historical mystery, a haunting love story, and a glimpse into the uncanny—the quest for a long-lost book detailing the animals left off Noah’s Ark.

Xeno Atlas grows up in the Bronx, his Sicilian grandmother’s strange stories of animal spirits his only escape from the legacy of his mother’s early death and his stern father’s long absences as a common seaman. Shunted off to an isolated boarding school, with his father’s activities abroad and the source of his newfound wealth grown increasingly mysterious, Xeno turns his early fascination with animals into a personal obsession: his search for the Caravan Bestiary. This medieval text, lost for eight hundred years, supposedly details the animals not granted passage on the Ark—griffins, hippogriffs, manticores, and basilisks—the vanished remnants of a lost world sometimes glimpsed in the shadowy recesses of our own.

Xeno’s quest takes him from the tenements of New York to the jungles of Vietnam to the ancient libraries of Europe—but it is only by riddling out his own family secrets that he can hope to find what he is looking for. A story of panoramic scope and intellectual suspense, The Bestiary is ultimately a tale of heartbreak and redemption.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:19 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A tale that is at once a fantastical historical mystery, a haunting love story, and a glimpse into the uncanny. Xeno Atlas grows up in the Bronx, his Sicilian grandmother's stories of animal spirits his only escape from the legacy of his mother's early death and his stern father's long absences. Shunted off to an isolated boarding school, Xeno turns his fascination with animals into a personal obsession: his search for the medieval Caravan Bestiary, lost for eight hundred years, which supposedly details the animals not granted passage on the Ark--griffins, hippogriffs, manticores, and basilisks--the vanished remnants of a lost world. Xeno's quest takes him from the tenements of New York to the jungles of Vietnam to the ancient libraries of Europe--but it is only by riddling out his own family secrets that he can hope to find what he is looking for.--From publisher description.… (more)

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