A Book About the Other New Yorkers


Robert Sullivan's new book may make some readers a bit queasy, but NYT book reviewer Michiko Kakutani calls it ""Engaging ... a lively, informative compendium of facts, theories and musings."

The subject is...rats.

This article relates how the author studied the habits of rodents each evening over the period of a year in New York's Chinatown aided by a pair of infra-red goggles. He found that social connections within the rat community are amazingly similar to the city's predominant species. Happily, he tells us that the long-believed formula that there is one rat per New Yorker is, as of the moment, fictitious.


I caught a review of this in Kirkus, I think, back in February when I was just starting my job and had been given the Health section as my collection development assignment. I figured, Hey! This is about Public Health. My boss cringed when she saw the order form, but I explained what it was about and she said OK. I felt so justified when I saw reviews for it popping up everywhere in the last month and a half.

The article says the author observed rats "as they feasted on garbage from a Chinese eatery in Eden's Alley, a tiny, cobble-stoned alley in New York's downtown financial district."

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