“This story, told by a master teller of such things, does more than take you inside the cages, fences, and walls of a zoo. It takes you inside the human heart, and an elephant’s, and a primate’s, and on and on. Tom French did in this book what he always does. He took real life and wrote it down for us, with eloquence and feeling and aching detail.” -Rick Bragg, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and bestselling author
“An insightful and detailed look at the complex life of a zoo and its denizens, both animal and human.” -Yann Martel, author of Life of Pi and Beatrice and Virgil
Welcome to the savage and surprising world of Zoo Story, an unprecedented account of the secret life of a zoo and its inhabitants. Based on six years of research, the book follows a handful of unforgettable characters at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo: an alpha chimp with a weakness for blondes, a ferocious tiger who revels in Obsession perfume, and a brilliant but tyrannical CEO known as El Diablo Blanco.
The sweeping narrative takes the reader from the African savannah to the forests of Panama and deep into the inner workings of a place some describe as a sanctuary and others condemn as a prison. Zoo Story shows us how these remarkable individuals live, how some die, and what their experiences reveal about the human desire to both exalt and control nature.