The Winter ZooBook - 2002
A sexy, hilarious novel of wayward young expatriates -- and the difference between doing good and feeling good.
In 1990, a young man named Gurney abandons his newborn daughter in an Iowa delivery room and escapes into Krakow, Poland, where it seems as if everyone is hunting for the next new thing. Upon this seductive frontier, Gurney devotes himself to a life of irresponsibility. Already ensconced in Poland is Gurney's cousin Jane, a master manipulator who occupies the center of Krakow's spiderweb of sexual and political intrigue. As Jane and Gurney's relationship swerves thrillingly closer to the incestuous, Gurney crosses paths -- and often swords -- with Krakow's gallery of rogues and innocents. Among them are Wanda, Jane's virginal yet rebellious roommate, who harbors for Gurney a not-so-secret crush; Dick Chestnutt, a sodden American expatriate; Jackie Witherspoon, an ambitious young scholar of uncertain sexuality and allegiance; and Zbigniew Zamoyski, Wanda's father, a former Communist aristocrat who decides that the fun, and Gurney, must be stopped.
Seamlessly juxtaposing totalitarianism and freedom, the political and the personal, John Beckman has created a magical world. Evocative and suberbly crafted, The Winter Zoo marks the debut of a young writer of enormous talent and promise.