The leopard is loose A novel

Stephen Harrigan, 1948-

Book - 2022

"The fragile, 1952 postwar tranquility of a five-year-old boy's world explodes one summer day when a leopard escapes from the zoo, throwing all of Oklahoma City into dangerous excitement, in this evocative story of a child's confrontation with his deepest fears. For Grady McClarty, an ever-watchful but bewildered five-year-old boy, World War II is only a troubling, ungraspable event that occurred before he was born. But he feels its effects all around him. He and his older brother... Danny are fatherless, and their mother, Bethie, is still grieving for her fighter-pilot husband. Most of all, Grady sees it in his two uncles: young combat veterans determined to step into a fatherhood role for their nephews, even as they struggle with the psychological scars they carry from the war. When the news breaks that a leopard has escaped from the Oklahoma City Zoo, the playthings and imagined fears of Grady's childhood begin to give way to real-world terrors--the still-incomprehensible threats of battle fatigue, alcoholism, grief, Jim Crow laws, and, most imminently, the dangerous cat itself. The Leopard Is Loose is a stunning encapsulation of America in the 1950s, and a moving portrait of a young boy's struggle to find his place in his family's, and his nation's, history"--

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FICTION/Harrigan Stephen
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Location Call Number   Status
1st Floor New Shelf FICTION/Harrigan Stephen (NEW SHELF) Due Jun 15, 2022
Subjects
Genres
Historical fiction
Domestic fiction
Published
New York : Alfred A. Knopf 2022.
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
247 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
9780525655770
0525655778
Main Author
Stephen Harrigan, 1948- (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Grady is five in the summer of 1952 when the leopard escapes from the Oklahoma City Zoo, and the city goes a little crazy looking for it. Grady's bachelor uncles, Frank and Emmett, are among the hunters. Surrogate fathers to the boy, they live in the apartment above the one occupied by Grady, his widowed mother, Bethie, and older brother Danny. Across the yard is the house where his grandparents and Aunt Vivian live. The family, though close knit, is not without its problems. Both Frank and Emmett have come back from WWII changed: Frank, angry and Emmett troubled. That they drink too much adds to the occasional friction. Things come to a head when the uncles, with Grady and Danny in the back seat, set off in Frank's car to find the leopard. They will find more, much more, than they anticipate. That the novel is told retrospectively by Grady, now in his seventies, adds an element of nostalgia to this slightly old-fashioned family story, which, in its quiet way, is quite captivating. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Author of The Chocolate Maker's Wife, Brooks reimagines Geoffrey Chaucer's rollicking story of The Good Wife of Bath from its heroine's perspective, offering the nuanced tale of a girl married off at age 12 and learning to fight to survive. In Beautiful Little Fools, the USA Today best-selling Cantor reimagines the ending of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, with a diamond hairpin discovered near the scene of Gatsby's murder casting suspicion on three key women: Daisy Buchanan; her best friend, Jordan Baker; and Catherine McCoy, suffragette sister of Tom's mistress, Myrtle. In The Magnolia Palace, the New York Times best-selling Davis parallels the lives of two women: Lillian, a celebrated artist's model in New York who loses her mother to the 1918 influenza and ends up working as secretary to the industrialist Henry Clay Frick's imperious daughter, and Swinging Sixties English model Veronica, who discovers hidden messages while posing at the Frick Collection that lead her to a mystery surrounding the Frick family. From Harrigan, author of the New York Times best-selling The Gates of the Alamo, The Leopard Is Loose tells the 1952-set story of a five-year-old mourning the death of his fighter-pilot father, whose life is further upended when a big cat escapes from Oklahoma City's zoo. In The Siren of Sussex, from the USA Today best-selling Matthews, bluestocking Evelyn Maltravers—from a family that has seen better times—knows she can make a mark in Victorian society only through her great skill as an equestrienne, though she will need a striking riding habit. And that brings her happily to Anglo-Indian dressmaker Ahmad Malik. From Wallace, whose New York Times best-selling To Marry an English Lord inspired Downton Abbey, Our Kind of People tells the story of a slightly outré family during New York City's Gilded Age, with the wife especially clinging to her status among the elite even as her husband bets all on an elevated railroad that he says will change the city. Copyright 2021 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Harrigan makes a welcome return to fiction after Big Wonderful Thing: A History of Texas with a deeply felt story inspired by a leopard that escaped from the Oklahoma City Zoo in 1952. Five-year-old Grady McClarty lives with his older brother, Danny, and their widowed mother. Grady is riveted by the press coverage of the missing leopard and is afraid of being attacked by it. He's also puzzled by the behavior of his uncles, Emmett and Frank, combat veterans having trouble adjusting to civilian life. Frank drinks too much and gets fired from his car dealership job, while Emmett is stuck working as a draftsman when he'd prefer to be an artist. But the uncles dote on both boys, and when Grady suggests they join the leopard hunt, the men agree. Danny insists he sees the animal through some trees, and Emmett's armed pursuit of what turns out to be a Black man's dog inadvertently ignites the tensions that have been simmering in the city all summer. Though the racial issues are unsatisfyingly relegated to a plot point, Grady is an appealing narrator, and Harrigan elegantly conveys the strength of family bonds. Readers who can overlook a few narrative wobbles will find plenty of heart. Agent: Esther Newberg, ICM Partners. (Jan.) Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

In 1952, when a leopard escapes from the Oklahoma City Zoo, the imagined fears of Grady McClarty, an ever-watchful but bewildered 5-year-old boy, turn into real-word terrors, in this moving portrait of a boy’s struggle to find his place in the world and confront what scares him most.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"The fragile, 1952 postwar tranquility of a five-year-old boy's world explodes one summer day when a leopard escapes from the zoo, throwing all of Oklahoma City into dangerous excitement, in this evocative story of a child's confrontation with his deepest fears. For Grady McClarty, an ever-watchful but bewildered five-year-old boy, World War II is only a troubling, ungraspable event that occurred before he was born. But he feels its effects all around him. He and his older brother Danny are fatherless, and their mother, Bethie, is still grieving for her fighter-pilot husband. Most of all, Grady sees it in his two uncles: young combat veterans determined to step into a fatherhood role for their nephews, even as they struggle with the psychological scars they carry from the war. When the news breaks that a leopard has escaped from the Oklahoma City Zoo, the playthings and imagined fears of Grady's childhood begin to give way to real-world terrors--the still-incomprehensible threats of battle fatigue, alcoholism, grief, Jim Crow laws, and, most imminently, the dangerous cat itself. The Leopard Is Loose is a stunning encapsulation of America in the 1950s, and a moving portrait of a young boy's struggle to find his place in his family's, and his nation's, history"--

Review by Publisher Summary 3

The fragile, 1952 postwar tranquility of a young boy’s world explodes one summer day when a leopard escapes from the Oklahoma City zoo, throwing all the local residents into dangerous excitement, in this evocative story of a child’s confrontation with his deepest fearsFor Grady McClarty, an ever-watchful but bewildered five-year-old boy, World War II is only a troubling, ungraspable event that occurred before he was born. But he feels its effects all around him. He and his older brother Danny are fatherless, and their mother, Bethie, is still grieving for her fighter-pilot husband. Most of all, Grady senses it in his two uncles: young combat veterans determined to step into a fatherhood role for their nephews, even as they struggle with the psychological scars they carry from the war. When news breaks that a leopard has escaped from the Oklahoma City Zoo, the playthings and imagined fears of Grady’s childhood begin to give way to real-world terrors, most imminently the dangerous jungle cat itself. The Leopard Is Loose is a stunning encapsulation of America in the 1950s, and a moving portrait of a boy’s struggle to find his place in the world.