War Against The Animals The plot -- an affluent, ailing middle-aged gay man hires a pair of muscly working-class brothers barely past high school to renovate his Hudson Valley… War Against The Animals The plot -- an affluent, ailing middle-aged gay man hires a pair of muscly working-class brothers barely past high school to renovate his Hudson Valley… Fiction
Review

War Against The Animals (2014)

EW's GRADE
B

Details Writer: Paul Russell; Genre: Fiction

The plot -- an affluent, ailing middle-aged gay man hires a pair of muscly working-class brothers barely past high school to renovate his Hudson Valley home -- could go a lot of different ways: porn, violence, stereotyped culture clash, or poignant friendship building across sociological boundaries. And in his fifth novel, Russell (The Salt Point) indulges in a bit of each. But the overarching mood of his well-observed story is one of inevitability and growing dread. Once he introduces the players -- Cameron, a rueful man facing his own mortality; Jesse, an inarticulate, straight-or-is-he? lost soul; and Kyle, a thug willing to use brother Jesse as a sexual pawn if a possible inheritance is at stake -- all Russell has to do is pull their strings. When the author stops puppeteering, though, his characters and their plights are resonant and touching.

Originally posted Aug 15, 2003 Published in issue #723 Aug 15, 2003 Order article reprints
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