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Presented by State Library Victoria

The Art of Taxidermy | A Review

When I first picked up the book and read the blurb, my first thought was: WOW! A book in the form of verses, an interesting take on an equally unusual and intriguing subject — taxidermy. I believe that the vocabulary drew me in the most; and slowly as the story delved deeper, the words helped me realise a hidden story within these lyrical verses.

The Art of Speaking

A short poem

Words, are often misheard,

when they are blown away,

along with the whispering leaves,

and the echoing of the soft

shimmering feathers.

Yes, sometimes we do not

catch them.

Floating past our closed eyes,

flittering across our ears.

The meanings are lost,

when the words are broken.

No longer do thoughts

process to our lips,

never again do such words

form artistry.

The Art of Taxidermy mainly illustrated the girl, Lottie, and her passion for taxidermy. While her father, Wolfgang, supports his daughter’s interest, her aunt Hilda is appalled and would like to see her niece into more girlish not ghoulish hobbies. I liked that this novel explored the gender roles of women at the time and how certain jobs were not socially accepted for a “proper lady.” In relation to our current lives, more women are now encouraged to pursue careers such as STEM.

Moreover, Lottie was trying to come to terms with her mother’s death through the art of taxidermy. I found that the juxtaposition between the grotesque descriptions of animals to the natural beauty of wildlife was quite interesting. Through taxidermy, Lottie is able to restore beauty in a world surrounded by rot and decay, finally showing that death is not to be ‘romanticised’, rather acknowledging that it is a part of life.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who LOVES poetry or would like to read something that is in a different style.



One word summary: