About how everything begins, and the total, all-consuming transformation entailed in bringing a life into the world. A world on the edge of the precipice.
Lisa never wanted to be a mother. So when she suddenly finds herself wanting to become one after all, it feels like a biological ambush. Now she’s standing here with an unrecognisable body, a sense of terror and a love that requires a new language. With her partner and children and baby – the current end point of over three billion years of evolution.
Welcome to the Zoo is a story about humans and other animals. About mothers, daughters and female friendships; symbioses and despair. It is a novel about the beginning of all things, and the complete transformation that bringing life into the world entails.
A funny, sharp and exceptionally well-written debut. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything on this subject that hits a thousand small nails on the head in the way that this book does.
Silje Bekeng-Flemmen is an experienced journalist, and this is particularly evident in her use of language. She manoeuvres easily and lithely through the kingdom of metaphor.
The absent-minded, reflective narrative style, interspersed with questions and quotes, is obviously inspired by Maggie Nelson, and is also reminiscent of another American author – Jenny Offill.
Welcome to the Zoo is at its best when it devotes itself to the specific details of life with small children, and to the reflections that stem from it.
Prose, at times gorgeous, encompassing animals, imagined catastrophes, children who light up others’ faces, and a good many exacting emotions and descriptions for those of us who have been through it all before.
5 out of 6 stars