Jungle Law

(Fiction; MacAdam/Cage, 2005)

A brave first novel, Jungle Law imagines Rudyard Kipling during the writing of The Jungle Book—which, surprisingly, was undertaken in rural Vermont, where Kipling and his wife moved at the end of the nineteenth century. “Outside the sun rises over the mountains,” Vinton writes. “Inside, the jungle awakens.”The novelist’s creative life, itself a flight from an abandonment in his childhood, borrows from the real-time longing of the little boy next door, whose Irish immigrant parents exist in uneasy company with the exotic Kiplings, their provenance, and the physical and emotional luxury of the writer’s life. Vinton’s experience reading to her own small daughter night after night gave rise to the novel, which manages to recall every reader’s first stories, the intoxication of first learning how narrative gives measure to the experience of living with a human heart.

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