What We Fed to the Manticore

Recorded Books. Oct. 2022. 4:58 hrs. ISBN 9781705070512. $19.99. F
Kolluri’s masterful debut collection features nine short stories where the protagonist is always an animal. Whether they are tame, wild, cared for, or alone, Kolluri imbues them with fully developed personalities and treats them with great respect. The relationships of animal/human, animal/animal, and animal/self reveal universal truths of love and fear. The stories are delivered by two narrators, providing a necessary change of pace halfway through. Audie Award−winning Nikki Massoud begins the collection in “The Good Donkey,” giving voice to a sweet donkey and making unique oral choices for the antagonists. Narrator Neil Shah comes in later as a deep-voiced, pensive bear. Listeners may be disappointed to hear only a couple of stories from Shah, which is a shame, as he is very talented. Both narrators provide a wonderful atmospheric reading, giving the illusion of being tucked into bed by a macabre fairy tale. Most tracks are about 30 minutes with enough space between each story.
VERDICT A remarkable book and an audiobook that deserves wide attention. Share this outstanding collection with fans of Karen Russell, George Saunders, and Amy Hempel.
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