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Download The Petting Zoo: A Novel Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Petting Zoo: A Novel Audiobook, by Jim Carroll Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (298 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jim Carroll Narrator: Scott Brick Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2010 ISBN: 9781400188772
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When poet, musician, and diarist Jim Carroll died in September 2009, he was putting the finishing touches on a potent work of fiction. The Petting Zoo tells the story of Billy Wolfram, an enigmatic thirty-eight-year-old artist who has become a hot star in the late 1980s New York art scene. As the novel opens, Billy, after viewing a show of Velázquez paintings, is so humbled and awed by their spiritual power that he suffers an emotional breakdown and withdraws to his Chelsea loft. In seclusion, Billy searches for the divine spark in his own work and life. Carroll's novel moves back and forth in time to present emblematic moments from Billy's life (his Irish Catholic upbringing, his teenage escapades, his evolution as an artist and meteoric rise to fame) and sharply etched portraits of the characters who mattered most to him, including his childhood friend Denny MacAbee, now a famous rock musician; his mentor, the unforgettable art dealer Max Bernbaum; and one extraordinary black bird. Marked by Carroll's sharp wit, hallucinatory imagery, and street-smart style, The Petting Zoo is a frank, haunting examination of one artist's personal and professional struggles. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A heartfelt portrait of a New York original by a New York original.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • A heartfelt portrait of a New York original by a New York original. Publishers Weekly
  • “Introspective, observant, and, at times, quite hilarious, this is a fitting culmination of Carroll’s life’s work.”

    Booklist

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lisa Lewis | 2/16/2014

    " I picked up this book when I noticed the author was Jim Carroll - being a former 80s punk rock girl, of course I thought he was so cool. The book was a surprise - it pulls you into the mind of an artist, complete with his illusions and anxieties, and was a bit of work to get through but very interesting along the way. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Susie Sentevski | 2/12/2014

    " The disorganization and unpolished passages of this book are distracting, for sure, but they are also expected considering, as other reviewers have noted, that this work was in draft form when Carroll passed away. Conceptually, the book is wonderful - a deep look at the relationship between the creative process and the broken mind. Unfortunately, I'm not sure Carroll executed the project with his characteristic, imagery-heavy finesse. With a collection of the most verbose characters I believe I've ever encountered - heavy dialogue that goes on for *pages,* my goodness - I found myself missing the beautifully constructed imagery and sharp phrasing that makes Carroll's work so delicious. His genius is the ease with which he guides readers through evocative and haunting passages, and that is missing from The Petting Zoo. What he does well here, though, is demonstrate the dimensions of the creative mind... particularly those involved in the brutal longing to satiate the artistic monster inside once it has bitten the hand that feeds it. Don't make this introspective novel either the first or the last Jim Carroll work you touch. Read it somewhere in the middle. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Celine | 2/11/2014

    " I really loved the book in the beginning but it started to trail off in the end. I did read the entire book but wasn't too happy with the ending or even how the last few chapters were written. Oh, well. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Reid Nichols | 2/11/2014

    " Good book! There is something about an artist's final works that draws me in. Carroll wrote this book just before passing away. I'll ruin it for you, the main character passes away too. As you might imagine, Carroll poured all the spirituality he must have been considering into the book. It isn't religious, just spiritual- and done with great style. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nicole | 1/28/2014

    " Slow to start, but worth reading in the end. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Squeasel | 1/16/2014

    " Very much enjoyed the first two thirds of the book. However it never really came together, and the end is honestly pretty crappy. Much prefer everything else I've read by him. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kevin Craig | 1/15/2014

    " Loved this novel. Just finished reading today. Brand new release from the late poet, memoirist, musician and novelist. JIM CARROLL. It's such an interesting internal exploration. Loved the raven! Billy is a character I'll not soon forget. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Matt | 1/10/2014

    " Unfortunate that once you strip away the mad rambling stream of consciousness white light metal spew that was B-ball Diaries (can we call it that?) and Forced Entries, you are left with the queasy feeling that this man cannot actually write. Patti Smith endorsement on the back of dust jacket meaningless as I never got into her music. Debbie Harry might have put him over, but then again, I am shallow. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dan | 1/5/2014

    " Fictional account of a skilled painter in NYC. Interesting ideas on art/life and sanity. May be a 4 star but right now its a 3. I will look for other works by author who is now deceased. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Reba | 12/23/2013

    " The first conversation with the raven is funny, the last conversation with him is frightening and sad. Overall, a good read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Surfing Moose | 12/7/2013

    " First quarter was good and interesting but lost interest half way through and lasted another 50 pages. Just stopped caring about the characters and found them pretentious. Probably would have been a different novel if Jim Carroll had the opportunity to finish it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Suzanne | 12/1/2013

    " Beautiful. "Do not give in to despair". "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Edward Sullivan | 10/21/2013

    " Carroll's only novel published posthumously. There are some great moments in this somewhat autobiographical story when Carroll's characteristic humor and wit shine through. He died before completing the final revisions which may account for why the last third of narrative seems a bit muddled. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 John Allen | 8/16/2013

    " A spiritual odyssey of the first order--Jim Carroll's best work along with "The Basketball Diaries" and "Fear of Dreaming" "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Cara | 9/24/2012

    " I won this book from first reads. I was so excited because I never read any Jim Carroll and had always wanted to. I couldn't get through it. It didn't have any real action for me and it was basically him talking to a bird. I found it really slow. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Aaron O'Donovan | 8/15/2011

    " Pretty awesome book that mixes art philosophy and strange fiction into one. It is about a talking raven (around since Noah's Ark), a crazy artist who has sexual issues and the Velaquez paintings that made the artist crazy. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Anne Michaud | 8/2/2011

    " 3 chapters...ouch. I just didn't connect with the plot, the characters, the mood, or the voice. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kate | 6/10/2011

    " I was surprised by how readable it was and how much I wanted to keep reading. Reminded me weirdly of Zelda Fitzgerald's novel. Kind of reminded me of unpublished memoir I am reading now, too. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Surfing Moose | 4/16/2011

    " First quarter was good and interesting but lost interest half way through and lasted another 50 pages. Just stopped caring about the characters and found them pretentious. Probably would have been a different novel if Jim Carroll had the opportunity to finish it. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jeremy | 4/5/2011

    " There are not many books that I would put in the category "worst ever" but this unreadable turd may be in the Top 5 ever of unreadable self flagelating nonsense.

    Good riddance. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Julienne | 3/1/2011

    " watch for a review in a forthcoming edition of Geez magazine "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nicole | 2/14/2011

    " Slow to start, but worth reading in the end. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kate | 1/25/2011

    " I was surprised by how readable it was and how much I wanted to keep reading. Reminded me weirdly of Zelda Fitzgerald's novel. Kind of reminded me of unpublished memoir I am reading now, too. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dan | 1/14/2011

    " Fictional account of a skilled painter in NYC. Interesting ideas on art/life and sanity. May be a 4 star but right now its a 3. I will look for other works by author who is now deceased. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Celine | 1/7/2011

    " I really loved the book in the beginning but it started to trail off in the end. I did read the entire book but wasn't too happy with the ending or even how the last few chapters were written. Oh, well. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Brian | 11/24/2010

    " I thought it was ok for what it was, the first 100 pages were great, but it went down hill fast after that. I definitely think Jim Carroll was one of the last great American poets, but this was just a disappointment. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kevin | 11/19/2010

    " Loved this novel. Just finished reading today. Brand new release from the late poet, memoirist, musician and novelist. JIM CARROLL. It's such an interesting internal exploration. Loved the raven! Billy is a character I'll not soon forget. "

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About the Narrator

Scott Brick, actor, narrator, and writer, attended UCLA and spent ten years in a traveling Shakespeare company. Passionate about the spoken word, he has narrated a wide variety of audiobooks, from thrillers and science fiction to classics and nonfiction. He has recorded more than eight hundred audiobooks and won over fifty AudioFile Earphones Awards and several of the prestigious Audie Awards. He was named a Golden Voice by AudioFile magazine and the Voice of Choice for 2016 by Booklist magazine.