Cathartes Aura and the Apocalypse Zoo

Rated 4.83/5 based on 6 reviews
A post-apocalyptic story of a zoo on the day no one showed up. Narrated by a captive turkey vulture.

Written in verse. 10 syllables per line, 10 lines per stanza, 10 stanzas per chapter, and 10 chapters overall.

The first episode in the series.

The narrator must escape his cage and navigate a zoo without keepers or tourists on his way to a world without structure.

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About Eighty Six

David Klenda, also known as Eighty Six, is a poet, journalist, cook and cocktail maker. He supports his wife and sons with a combination of freelance writing and hospitality. Flexible and adaptable by nature, he accepts all writing challenges.

"Inside the Skull of David Priest" is a novella loosely based on Eighty's career in the hospitality business. It is twenty-four hours in the life of the "Door-Gunner of Drinks" David Priest. Already ideas for a full-length novel are bouncing around the author's head.


Chapter One
The author reading the first 100 lines of the poem.

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Review by: Christina Galvez on Aug. 30, 2012 :
Note: I received a complimentary eBook of Cathartes Aura and the Apocalypse Zoo to review.

Cathartes Aura is a turkey vulture who lives in a zoo. The book contains his observations after an apocalyptic event when no one comes to the zoo. It portrays what happens when the caretakers are no longer there and the animals are hungry and eager to get out.

Poetry and verse were never my strong points. I am a numbers person and something that is as open to interpretation as poetry is usually difficult for me in the sense that I never seem to get out of it what was either intended or what the consensus seems to take away. That does not mean I do not enjoy poetry and verse; I just tend to keep my opinions to myself, especially after so many heated discussions in college.

I am not sure I can accurately explain why, but I thoroughly enjoyed Cathartes Aura and the Apocalypse Zoo. It may be a bit daunting at first because of the verse, but if you do not concentrate on the structure, it quickly reads like regular prose in most sections. In addition, the writing was extremely successful in emitting the emotions of the vulture and the tempo seemed to reflect that as well. For example, during the more stressful moments, I found myself reading faster. That was impressive; it always impresses me when writers accomplish this technique regardless of whether it was intentional.

I completely understand hesitation due to the combination of vulture point of view, apocalypse and verse, but it works. Not only do I look forward to reading Eighty-Six' next work, but I will most definitely return to Cathartes Aura and the Apocalypse Zoo. This is the type of literature that I will re-read every so often because I get more out of it with each reading.

I do not presume to know what the author intended for the reader to take away from his work and for that reason, I would not normally comment. However, this seems to be overlooked a bit and I do believe that is a shame. Will it enjoy the success and reputation of more traditional poetry and verse? No. But I can see how this could have a cult following. In fact there was one line that made me chuckle and I added it to my favorite quotes.

I could easily go on for another page or two about Cathartes Aura and the Apocalypse Zoo. There were several other things I wanted to include but maybe you should just read it and find out yourself. Then if you want to discuss, I will be happy to meet you on the book's Goodreads page.

Give it a try. 4 out of 5 stars.
(reviewed 4 days after purchase)
Review by: Pavarti K Tyler on June 30, 2011 :
Disclaimer: 86 gave me this ebook after we met during a Smashwords event. There was no promise of a review. He received a copy of Consumed by Love during the same event.

A post-apocalyptic poem written from the POV of a Turkey Vulture. Need I say more? If you don't want to read it based simply on the epic coolness of the concept, well, you're dead to me. This is one of the most awesome ideas I've ever heard of. Of course, there's massive potential for suckage, so as always, I shall venture into the fray ahead of you, ready to take that bullet.

Luckily, this wasn't necessary. You know why? Because this is brilliant! I don't like poetry much, unless it has naked ladies in it. And I'm not one for such a thematic approach, it usually ends up being far too contrived. Somehow 86 managed to write themeatic poetry that I loved.

Mostly it's the descriptions that killed me. 86's use of language is amazing, he really spares nothing when it comes to description and doesn't talk down to his readers. The images he invokes are visceral and often unpleasant, but his wordsmithing is so wonderful you don't even notice. As a reader it was a pleasant surprise to read a book that acknowledges I have a brain! (Incarceron I'm looking at you)

By the end of Cathartes Aura and the Apocalypse Zoo I had forgotten I was reading poetry. This in and of itself is a huge accomplishment. I've studied so much theatre my brain tries to force everything into iambic pentameter. The characterization (can you call it that if they're all animals?) of every creature described and the narrator is three dimensional and consistent and the flow of the story rolls at an even measured pace that is both eerie and engaging.

I definitely recommend taking a chance on this one.
(reviewed 40 days after purchase)
Review by: Wayne Klenda on May 31, 2011 :
I am a history "buff" when it comes to reading. This apocalptic poem adds a new dimension to my reading choices. The poet did a fantastice job in many areas. His use of descriptive adjectives brought such life to the "characters". I was caught up into the adventures of the main "character". I certainly look forward to the next episode.
(reviewed 23 days after purchase)
Review by: jana zidova on May 22, 2011 :
The truth is I would not pick up this book to read. It's not my kind of thing. I like romantic novels and this is an apocalyptic poem but I had a chance to read it and have to say "I love it". It has exceptional vocabulary and drives you to read it in one breath. I definitely recommend this great piece to anyone who wants to read books out of their ordinary comfort zone.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
Review by: Amber carson on May 15, 2011 :
I must admit I was skeptical at first, but in the end I was pleasantly surprised and found myself craving the sequel already! Cathartes Aura and the Apocalypse Zoo is "A post-apocalyptic story of a zoo on the day no one showed up. Narrated by a captive turkey vulture." I realize this description sounds strange but I was completely engaged in what was going on in and around the zoo from the point of view of a turkey vulture. He takes you through the story using great detail of what he hears, sees, smells and feels while the zoo falls into disarray. The next is "Cathartes Aura on the road from nowhere" and I will be very impatiently waiting for it.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
Review by: 1pookies on April 5, 2011 :
What a hoot!
This is anthropomorphism at is most bizarre! Haven't you ever really wondered what goes on inside the head of an exceedingly unadorable creature like a turkey vulture?
Cathartes has an articulate gift for description, especially when confronted with the big cats of the abandoned zoo. The reader cannot help but cheer on this young, inexperienced carrion eater as he makes his way in his newly non-caged world.
Loved it! Looking forward to the next decastich.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
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