What I Don’t Know About Animals by Jenny Diski - review by Mark Rowlands

Mark Rowlands

Of Rhinos and Lizards

What I Don’t Know About Animals


Virago 312pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

This is a book about Jenny Diski. Animals feature to the extent that they impinge on the author. These animals need not be real or living: fictional, otherwise imaginary, stuffed and toy animals all find a way in. There’s a lot about cats, and quite a bit about crabs (pubic – real or not; Diski apparently suffered from delusional parasitosis). The criterion of inclusion is having played some role in the life of the author.

The book has many flaws. Some may admire Diski’s determination to throw as many words as possible at a situation, whether it warrants them or not. I find it irritating. Some may find her sprawling, variegated observations interesting. I do not. However, the irritating and uninteresting can vary

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