Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Only the animals - Ceridwen Dovey

Ten tales are told by the souls of animals killed in human conflicts in the past century or so, from a camel in colonial Australia to a cat in the trenches in World War I, from a bear starved to death during the siege of Sarajevo to a mussel that died in Pearl Harbour. Each narrator also pays homage to an author who has written imaginatively about animals during much the same time span: Henry Lawson, Colette, Kafka, Virginia Woolf, Tolstoy, Günter Grass, Julian Barnes, and others.

These stories are brilliantly plotted, exquisitely written, inevitably poignant but also playful and witty. They ask us to consider profound questions. Why do animals shock us into feeling things we can't seem to feel for other humans? Why do animals allow authors to say the unsayable? Why do we sometimes treat humans as animals, and animals as humans? Can fiction help us find moral meaning in a disillusioned world?

Ceridwen Dovey is a prodigiously gifted storyteller, an insightful thinker, and a prose writer of great range. Each of the storylines is an opening to a new way of considering the nature of violence and the relationship between human and animal experiences of the world. Only The Animals will ask you to believe again, just for a moment, in the redemptive power of reading and writing fiction.

My thoughts:
This is a book about animals. And they all get a chapter of their own.

The first one about a camel, well ...not a lot happened there.

The second one about a cat was better, and sad! A cat at the Western front. Meeting another cat, thinking about the owner, all while surviving. 

Then we had such a creepy tale about a chimpanzee writing letter to the wife of the man who trained him to act human. I mean it was really good, but creepy.

The next story was about a dog, whose owner was into Hinduism, Buddhism, and the dog started to think about karma. Interesting.

Then came the beatnick mussel on the road. Well written.

After that a sad tortoise who met interesting people before going into space.

Then an elephant story, they are just so sad you know. They try to live their lives while people are at war.

The bear story was not any happier. It took place in Sarajevo. The bear starved while another bear told a story about a prince.

The next one was about dolphins trained for war. All stories start with the death date of the animal, so they are not happy.

And last, about a parrot. The end hit me there, why oh why.

Conclusion:
Animals forgotten while people are at war. Animals trained for war. Animals just trying to live. I liked these stories. They are sad, thoughtful and quite wonderful. And they worked as short glimpses into a life of an animal.  Good book.


Paperback, 256 pages....Expected publication: August 18th 2015 by Atlantic Books ....Fiction.....For review


47 comments:

  1. What a unique book! Most of the stories do sound rather sad, though.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is most definitely not the book for me! I can't deal with animals dying in books or movies, so I think I'd be a sobbing mess if I attempted this one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was not SAD sad, just, sigh, humans

      Delete
  3. Oh I couldn't read it. I would be a blubbering mess. You even hint at an animal dying and I am like nope, nope, nope!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well not all die in the story, but we know they will die. So not sad sad.

      Delete
  4. How different! I can't do sad animal things. I'm a pansy. lol

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow, this is different and a neat gift for animal lovers

    ReplyDelete
  6. Sounds way too sad for me!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. it's not something we usually have but it's intriguing

    ReplyDelete
  8. I was thinking I'd get this for my kid, but the sad cat story is a deal breaker.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I would be nervous throughout the book waiting for the big shoe to drop. I don't like sad and animals so I may pass on this one even though I know I'd love some of those stories.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are novellas, death is not shown in all, we just know it

      Delete
    2. They are novellas, death is not shown in all, we just know it

      Delete
  10. Must be a delightful but sad story indeed, great review.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Interesting. Was the monkey's letter sad?

    ReplyDelete
  12. This sounds interesting, but like you said, sad. Great review.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I probably couldn't read this one. Animals + sadness = noooo lol

    Karen @For What It's Worth

    ReplyDelete
  14. What an interesting book! Animal lovers rejoice!

    ReplyDelete
  15. What an unusual idea for a book! And also wonderful - I can sense the potential a mile off. Too bad about the sadness though :\ I like happy animals!

    ReplyDelete
  16. O no this is really not for me, I can't handle animals dying, not even in books. I can't even look at roadkill and not feel sad.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Interesting, but...I don't think it's my thing. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Interesting idea for a book but I'm not sure its for me.

    ReplyDelete
  19. The cover is SO ADORABLE, but...
    "The second one about a cat was better, and sad! A cat at the Western front. Meeting another cat, thinking about the owner, all while surviving. "

    Sad cat story? Yeah, I am going to have to skip it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The toughest one was the elephant one cos there we actually saw her die :/

      Delete

Contributors

Copyright © 2008-2016 Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell All Rights Reserved. Proudly powered by Blogger

  © Blogger template Starry by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008 Modified by Lea

Back to TOP