What We Fed to the Manticore by Talia Lakshmi Kolluri (Mixed South Asian-American)
Through nine emotionally vivid stories, all narrated from animal perspectives, Talia Lakshmi Kolluri's debut collection explores themes of environmentalism, conservation, identity, belonging, loss, and family with resounding heart and deep tenderness. In Kolluri's pages, a faithful hound mourns the loss of the endangered rhino he swore to protect. Vultures seek meaning as they attend to the antelope that perished in Central Asia. A beloved donkey's loyalty to a zookeeper in Gaza is put to the ultimate test. And a wounded pigeon in Delhi finds an unlikely friend.
In striking, immersive detail against the backdrop of an ever-changing international landscape, What We Fed to the Manticore speaks to the fears and joys of the creatures we share our world with, and ultimately places the reader under the rich canopy of the tree of life.
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Talia Lakshmi Kolluri's short fiction has appeared in The Minnesota Review, Ecotone, Southern Humanities Review, The Common, and elsewhere. She was born and raised in Northern California and currently lives in California's beautiful Central Valley with her husband and cat.