A Carnivore's Inquiry by Sabina Murray

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The spellbinding new book by the winner of the 2003 PEN/Faulkner Award is a gripping, literary psychological thriller about a young woman and a peculiar taste for flesh
Hailed as "a cracklingly original, brilliantly conceived modern Gothic" by Elle, Sabina Murray's first book since she won the PEN/Faulkner Award for The Caprices is a tour de force of intelligent suspense that seduces us with dark delight in her taboo subject.
When we meet Katherine, the winning -- and rather disturbing -- twenty-three-year-old narrator, she has just left Italy and arrived in New York City, but what has propelled her there is a mystery. She soon strikes up an affair with a middle-aged Russian emigre novelist she meets on the subway, and almost immediately moves into his apartment. Katherine's occasional allusions to a frighteningly eccentric mother and tyrannical father suggest a somberness at the center of her otherwise flippant and sardonic demeanor. Soon restless, she begins journeying from literary New York to rural Maine and Mexico City, trailed, everywhere she goes, by a string of murders. As the ritualistic killings begin to pile up, Katherine takes to meditating on cannibalism in literature, art, and history, and examining subjects as diverse as the Donner Party, the fall of Dante’s Count Ugolino, and the true story behind Gericault's "The Raft of the Medusa." The story races toward a hair-raising conclusion, while Katherine and the reader close in on the reasons for both her and her mother’s fascination with aberrant, violent behavior.

This is a novel of ideas and a brilliantly subtle commentary on twenty-first-century consumerism and Western culture’s obsession with new frontiers. Told in highly intelligent prose "with echoes of both Poe and Patrick McGrath" (Bookforum), A Carnivore's Inquiry is a sly, unsettling exploration of the questionable appetites that lurk beneath the veneer of North American civilization.

About Sabina Murray

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She grew up in Austrialia & the Philippines. A former Michener Fellow at the University of Texas & Bunting Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute of Harvard University, she is the author of the novel Slow Burn. She has also written a screenplay titled Beautiful Country.She is the Roger Murray Writer in Residence at Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts.
Published June 10, 2005 by Grove Press. 306 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure, Children's Books, Horror. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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A sinking feeling sets in when Katherine, narrator, looks down the American highway and sees “nothing but a nation plunged in darkness” and then defines as an American “one who can achieve the needs of his or her appetite.” Little follows to support or freshen the overworked theme that Murray (Sl...

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Publishers Weekly

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Hoopes's subtle rendering of Katherine's wily intelligence is impressive given how much Katherine conceals while she ingenuously relates her story.

Sep 06 2004 | Read Full Review of A Carnivore's Inquiry

Publishers Weekly

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That 23-year-old Katherine Shea is an unreliable narrator is evident from the first pages of Murray's mesmerizing new novel (after the PEN/Faulkner Award–winning story collection, The Caprices ).

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Book Reporter

There's a serial killer lurking the shadows of Sabina Murray's second novel, A CARNIVORE'S INQUIRY, who carries the evocative moniker William "Bad Billy" Selwyn.

Dec 26 2010 | Read Full Review of A Carnivore's Inquiry

Entertainment Weekly

With a taste for Goya, tequila, and perhaps human blood, Katherine Shea, the pallid, promiscuous young narrator of Sabina Murray's elegantly written A Carnivore's Inquiry, is another scorpion you're not sure you want to curl up with.

Jul 28 2004 | Read Full Review of A Carnivore's Inquiry

Live Journal

The story begins with Katherine Shea returning to the United States after living in Europe for a number of years.

Sep 17 2009 | Read Full Review of A Carnivore's Inquiry

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