Introductions to 20 celebrities, mostly artists or writers, and their pets.
Opening with Frida Kahlo and the fawn Granizo, centerpiece of her powerful painting The Wounded Deer, the gallery lines up a glittering array of prominent figures matched to pets that played significant roles in their lives and, usually, works. Some creatures, such as Karl Lagerfeld’s diamond-collared kitty Choupette, Ernest Hemingway’s six-toed Snowball, and T.S. Eliot’s fictive “Practical Cats” are celebrities in their own rights. Others, like the two crocodiles that took up residence in Dorothy Parker’s bathtub or Grip, the talking raven that made its way into both Charles Dickens’ Barnaby Rudge and a famous poem of Edgar Allen Poe’s, really should be. The many mentioned works of art in which pets feature are not reproduced here; instead, Quinn adds both visual continuity and a strong element of dignity to the proceedings with original, formally solemn, mostly full-face double portraits for each entry. Gallo’s narrative is not free of typos or pages of small type against dark backgrounds—but aside from her entry on Newton, which presents the apple falling on his head as fact and highlights his contributions to algebra without mentioning calculus, her petcentric overviews of each human subject’s life and achievements are generally both spot-on and rich in fascinating anecdotes. With the exception of Kahlo, humans profiled are European or American, and most are men.
Unusually intimate angles on a stimulating mix of figures.
(Collective biography. 11-14)
Pub Date: April 21, 2020
Page Count: 48
Review Posted Online: March 1, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020