If you know anything about me, you probably know I like weird books. And I have been reading some pretty weird ones lately, but Jessica Anthony’s Enter the Aardvark is definitely up there on the weirdness scale. I mean, the title alone should probably clue you in, but there’s also the fact that this is political satire meets historical fiction with a taxidermied aardvark as a major plot point. Like I said, it’s weird.
(All reviews are spoiler-free unless otherwise noted.)
It’s early one morning on a hot day in August, and millennial congressman Alexander Paine Wilson (R), planning his first reelection campaign and in deep denial about his sexuality, receives a mysterious, over-sized FedEx delivery on his front stoop. Inside is a gigantic taxidermied aardvark.
This outrageous, edge-of-your-seat novel hurtles between contemporary Washington, D.C., where Wilson tries to get rid of the unsightly beast before it destroys his career, and Victorian England–where we meet Titus Downing, the taxidermist who stuffed the aardvark, and Richard Ostlet, the naturalist who hunted her. Our present world, we begin to see, has been shaped in profound and disturbing ways by the secret that binds these men.
I am definitely a fan of weird books. I also enjoy the occasional political satire. And a political satire that is, decidedly, very weird? Obviously, I had to read it. Obviously, I’ve read a lot of strange books. But Enter the Aardvark definitely ranks near the top of the list when it comes to exactly how weird it is (this is the only book I’ve ever read involving a taxidermied aardvark). That said, I did really enjoy this. It’s a fun story that is a mix of contemporary political satire and historical fiction. Both storylines are connected by the aardvark.
I did enjoy the historical and modern storylines, but I will admit the contemporary story was more fun. It also took a bit longer for me to get into the historical storyline, so my instinct for the first half of the book was to speed through it. It did get more interesting as the book went on, and I appreciated the parallels between the two stories.
I really enjoyed the writing in this book. It’s extremely difficult to pull off second person POV, but I think Jessica Anthony did it here. I think it worked well for the the modern storyline, and helped differentiate it from the historical story even more. I also just liked the writing style of this book. It was fun to read and felt interesting.
My only real complaint about this book is that it took me a minute to get into it. And, unfortunately, since this is a fairly short book, that means by the time I felt invested in the story, it was halfway over. Still, I did have fun reading it, and would definitely be open to reading more by Jessica Anthony.
★★★☆☆ – Enter the Aardvark was a fun read. I enjoyed the writing style and thought it was an interesting story. A solid three stars.
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This book was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.
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