TestMarket - Go! Open Throat: 'An instant classic' - THE GUARDIAN, Limited-Time Discounts Available

Go! Open Throat: 'An instant classic' - THE GUARDIAN, Limited-Time Discounts Available

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Jan 14, 2024 03:23 pm
Go! Open Throat: 'An instant classic' - THE GUARDIAN, Limited-Time Discounts Available
Category: Fiction
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Rating: 4.20
Total Rating Count: 229
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Title: An extraordinary surreal memoir of a mountain lion
Content: “If you feel alone in the world, find someone to worship you.” - ‘Open Throat’ by Henry Hoke. This is an unusual novella told from the viewpoint of a queer mountain lion living in the shadow of the Hollywood sign. Not that the lion’s gender identity is particularly notable in the plot though he does have an attachment to another male lion, he calls ‘kill sharer’. The narrative is stream of consciousness written in the style of a prose poem as the lion recounts his various experiences. The punctuation and spelling is erratic as might be expected from a puma presenting their life story. I listened to its audiobook edition alongside reading, as often I find that poetry and poetic prose works better for me in this dual format. ‘Open Throat’ drifts into fantastical territory when the mountain lion is adopted by Jane Slaughter, the moody teenage daughter of a celebrity comedian, as if he were a stray kitty. Jane names him Hecate and decides that he is her emotional support cat/goddess. He refers to her as Little Slaughter. His account of their ‘trip’ to Diznee was wild. I learnt after reading that ‘Open Throat’ was inspired by the mountain lion known as P-22 that had lived in Griffith Park and roamed the Hollywood Hills from 2012 until late 2022. He became a media celebrity and also highlighted wildlife conservation issues. In the Acknowledgements Hoke writes: “This book is for P-22, who walks beside me in dreams.” Overall, I found ‘Open Throat’ an amazing read, one of my favourites of 2023. It’s a fable bound to appeal to lovers of cats and wildlife of all kinds. It was witty, sweet, and heartbreaking. Highly recommended.
Rating:
Title: A touching and imaginative piece of writing
Content: “every person sitting and walking has hands too and I see all their hands and I know what their hands can do and what their hands would do and the violence waiting behind every motion” This is an enjoyably bananas novella, written in poetic fragments, about a mountain lion living in the Hollywood Hills. This lion is, naturally enough, consumed by bloodlust, but also curious about the human world around them, and treats us to a free-flowing internal monologue about the same. I find scattered sentences and free-form internal monologues hard to read, but they work well when read aloud. If you’re like me and prefer your novels to have a bit of structure, read the audiobook! It’s beautifully narrated, too, drawing you into the lion’s world. We follow the lion - we never learn their name - as they try to survive "Ellay" - say it aloud - despite ever-constant threats from pollution, starvation and human beings. Constantly followed by thirst and hunger, our protagonist nonetheless takes a keen interest in the world around them. Survival is first and foremost on their mind, but we also hear the lion’s thoughts on earthquakes, other lions, the habits and oddness of hikers who pass through, and it also manages to pack in a critique of capitalism, an exploration of loneliness, and a rallying cry against climate change into its 156 pages without ever feeling rushed or overstuffed. That’s a mark of a seriously impressive writer. I’ve seen this described as a profoundly voice-driven novel, and that’s very much the case - the mountain lion’s observations about the world around them are wry, sometimes scathing and sometimes heart-rending. Obviously, this novel is light enough on plot - the lion leaves their hunting grounds and heads towards the city after a crime is enacted on “their humans”. They befriend a young woman - these sections are some of the strongest in the book, a fever dream of human-animal connection that I found oddly devastating. The ending is also upsetting, if ambiguously so, and in the novel’s acknowledgements, Hoke mentions that a real-life city-dwelling mountain lion inspired this story. A touching and imaginative piece of writing that reminds the reader just how alike humans and animals can be.
Rating:
Title: Stunning book
Content: A book of little prose but feels like a completely realised novel. One of the best books I've read this year and destined to become a classic.
Rating:
Title: Interesting short story
Content: “Open Throat” is a short story about a mountain lion living in LA. It’s such a short story that to say much more would pretty much tell you the whole plot. But it’s told from the lion’s perspective and we see it witnessing humanity and, more often than not, the worst sides of modern life and what it has done to people. It’s an interesting story and the moral of it is definitely obvious by the end. I can’t say I enjoyed it, possibly because it was very short and the style, I felt, was very abrupt rather than being fluid. If I hadn’t already read “Interviews with an Ape” by Jane Fallon, I would’ve said it was quite a unique way to tell this sort of story. It still felt relatively unique and rare but I’m not sure that’s enough to win me over. However, I’m sure others will enjoy it. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this book.
Rating:
Title: Insightful
Content: A delightful short novella written from the perspective of a queer mountain lion who lives amongst the Hollywood sign, with some pithy insightful reflections on the state of humans he encounters and overhears. Wonderful.
Rating:
Title: Strange and beautiful
Content: One of the most original novels I've read in years. Strange, haunting and beautiful and short enough to read in one sitting.
Rating:
Title: An extraordinary surreal memoir of a mountain lion
Content: “If you feel alone in the world, find someone to worship you.” - ‘Open Throat’ by Henry Hoke. This is an unusual novella told from the viewpoint of a queer mountain lion living in the shadow of the Hollywood sign. Not that the lion’s gender identity is particularly notable in the plot though he does have an attachment to another male lion, he calls ‘kill sharer’. The narrative is stream of consciousness written in the style of a prose poem as the lion recounts his various experiences. The punctuation and spelling is erratic as might be expected from a puma presenting their life story. I listened to its audiobook edition alongside reading, as often I find that poetry and poetic prose works better for me in this dual format. ‘Open Throat’ drifts into fantastical territory when the mountain lion is adopted by Jane Slaughter, the moody teenage daughter of a celebrity comedian, as if he were a stray kitty. Jane names him Hecate and decides that he is her emotional support cat/goddess. He refers to her as Little Slaughter. His account of their ‘trip’ to Diznee was wild. I learnt after reading that ‘Open Throat’ was inspired by the mountain lion known as P-22 that had lived in Griffith Park and roamed the Hollywood Hills from 2012 until late 2022. He became a media celebrity and also highlighted wildlife conservation issues. In the Acknowledgements Hoke writes: “This book is for P-22, who walks beside me in dreams.” Overall, I found ‘Open Throat’ an amazing read, one of my favourites of 2023. It’s a fable bound to appeal to lovers of cats and wildlife of all kinds. It was witty, sweet, and heartbreaking. Highly recommended.
Rating:

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