Eliot Weinberger: Wildlife

William Heyward

 

 Wildlife
by Eliot Weinberger
Giramondo, $24 pb, 120 pp, 9781920882839

 

As is often the case with brilliant writers, an Eliot Weinberger sentence cannot be mistaken for that of anyone else. There is his insistence upon concrete details: ‘It was recorded in the 12th century, in the Collected Stories of Anomalies, that Chang T’ien-hsi dreamed that a green dog with a long body came from the south and tried to bite him.’ Even when entering the realm of the absurd, he avoids abstraction: ‘Each year, in the village of Pullipudupet, in southern India, a very young girl is selected to marry a frog.’ His adjectives and nouns have a rhythmic weight: ‘Camels’ feet leave lotus-pad prints in the sand.’ His conjunctions attest to thepeculiarity of the world: ‘Naked mole-rats have no fur, but their lips are hairy.’

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Published in June 2012 no. 342

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