There are certain things that Yuri Zipit knows:
That being official food-taster for the leader of the Soviet Union requires him to drink too much vodka for a 12-year-old.
That you do not have to be an Elephantologist to see that the great leader is dying.
That Marshal Bruhah has been known to eat his own children, while Comrade Krushka is only fit to run a slaughterhouse, and that one of them has Yuri's father somewhere here in the Dacha.
That it's a crime to love your family more than you love Socialism, the Party or the Motherland.
That, because of his damaged mind, everyone thinks Yuri is a fool.
But Yuri isn't. He sits quietly through another excessive state dinner and witnesses it all - betrayals, body doubles, buffoonery. He's starting to get the hang of this politics thing, but there's so much to learn. Who knew that a man could be in five places at once? That someone could break your nose as a sign of friendship? That people could be disinvented?
The Zoo is a cutting satire, told through the refreshing voice of one gutsy boy who will not give up on hope.
Christopher Wilson is the author of novels including Gallimauf's Gospel, Baa, Blueglass, Mischief, Fou, The Wurd, The Ballad of Lee Cotton and Nookie. His work has been translated into several languages, adapted for the stage, longlisted for the Booker Prize, and twice shortlisted for the Whitbread Fiction Prize.
Wilson completed a published PhD on the psychology of humour at LSE, worked as a research psychologist at UCL, The London Hospital and The Arts Council, and lectured for ten years at Goldsmiths' College, London University. He has taught creative writing in prisons, at university and for The Arvon Foundation.
Wilson has also established a couple of new imprints - Lollapalooza and MojoBooks - as e-publishers of fiction, poetry and books on cultural studies and body-politics. He lives in North London.