magnificent meditation on the quiet ways in which ordinary people become complicit in the crimes committed in their midst.Like a camera following a sleepwalker in a trance, the novel unfolds following the characters in Communist Czechoslovakia in the mid-70's importing and executing the largest herd of giraffes ever seen in Europe. With explicit reference to horrors of World War II, the novel re-explores the morality of ordinary people within a totalitarian regime.
While the detached camera view gives this novel a dreamy, poetic feeling, it did not touch me like the previous book A Peculiar Grace which was written in a similar style (see my blog entry Where is Heather Jasmine). I did not feel the echo of The Holocaust combined with the PETA-like reverence for the giraffes had the emotional impact I hoped for.
Regardless, it is a beautiful story of life in eastern Europe during a "communist moment."