Julian Barnes

Lost Her Strangeness

Zarafa: The True Story of a Giraffe's Journey from the Plains of Africa to the Heart of Post-Napoleonic France

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All animals are now effectively domesticated. Thanks to mass illustration, Disney, and half a century of TV zoologists, it is virtually impossible to be stunned or awed by beast or bird: intrigued, surprised, amused, occasionally shit-scared; impressed by their organisation, tickled by their tricks; but not stunned or awed. Perhaps this emotional absence explains the tenacity of hope that attaches to such extravagances as the Loch Ness Monster and the Abominable Snowman (not to mention Lord Lucan).

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