Enter the Raccoon

Beatriz Hausner

I'm unsure how I was possessed to find this book, as I must have only randomly happened upon its title. Not finding it at the library and ordering in, my immediate regret was upon it first arriving and thinking "Oh God, this is not what I think it is, is it?" It kind of was, but then, it kind of was not. A surprising, but uneasy relief; it really could've done without the poorly inked illustrations.

My first reading of this book was a grievous misinterpretation; I thought the trick to understanding how this book worked was reading every left page in a female voice and reading every right page in a male voice. I was mistaken, however, because I was confused by the format at first and ended up missing the right-handed Amy Winehouse reference in the first few passages. The sad thing is, even after realizing my mistake, I thought my version was much more interesting than the “more correct” one I got on a second reading. As such, I cannot recommend this book in any sane capacity to other readers ('cause it's trash), but I liked the version of this book I believe I had read, even if that is not the version Miss Hausner actually wrote.

Y'know what? I've come around. This book's great!

Once I got past the secondhand embarrassment of actually having held it in my hands, the book itself became one of those morbid curiosities whose presence on my shelves changed from the dark corners where I hoped none would discover it, into the open view as if to flaunt its abject absurdity. This 02012 book dares the question, “what if furry porn, but good?”

This is not the first time such a thing was ventured, or even uncommon. Jeet Heer once wrote a whole essay’s worth to wonder the question why Canadian fiction is flush with people having sex with animals, vegetables. The governor general’s award throughout its history has given benefit to at least two novels about fucking bears—and by that I don’t mean burly gay men. As recently as 02016, a very intelligent and very prolific University of Toronto professor sparked controversy for a magazine story about screwing an owl. (Why? Why.) Both Heer and the literary editor Emily Keeler likened it to the nation grappling with generations of inbred garrison mentality, stemming from our unrequited colonialist dreams, thoroughly defeated by both the relentless wilds in front of us and our own dysfunctional kin behind us. Or to put it more bluntly: “so many of our stories were about getting fucked by nature, eventually we considered fucking it back.” ... I think they might be giving CanLit too much credit. My mistake, when first reading this book, was to assume it was all symbolism, to be a metaphor for something, anything. Please, please be a metaphor for something.

It’s not! We’re here to get entered by the raccoon.

Maybe it’s because this book stems from that older, stranger tradition that makes it so much more fascinating than the usual lemons which litter the Internet. It is as horny as it is melancholy, but for all the descriptively detailed sex and furious masturbation, I can’t even call it erotica. It’s too cerebral to try. It’s the type of book that would interrupt a climax with a long and winding missive on the nature of objective reality and then use solipsistic slipping to turn its new boyfriend into the world’s clingiest poltergeist. The two trash animals being trash animals is barely even the thrust of the action, but instead a sort of recurring somnambulist dream, linked together by unanswerable and tormentive questions about the phenomenology of feeling. It’s very sincere, but very pretentious, and I find that hilarious.

Do I actually like this book? As in what is written on the pages? I don’t know. Perhaps I am more amused by the fact that it even exists at all.

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