In a trench on the Western Front a cat recalls her owner Colette's theatrical antics in Paris. In Nazi Germany, Himmler's dog seeks enlightenment. A Russian tortoise once owned by the Tolstoys drifts in space during the Cold War. In the siege of Sarajevo, a bear starving to death tells a fairytale; and a dolphin sent to Iraq by the US Navy writes a letter to Sylvia Plath.
Ten animal souls tell extraordinary stories about their lives and deaths, caught up in human conflicts of the last century and its turnings. Together they form an animal's eye view of humans at both our brutal, violent worst and our creative, imaginative best. Exquisitely written, playful and poignant, Only the Animals is a remarkable literary achievement by one of our brightest young writers. It asks us to find our way back to empathy not only for animals, but for other people, and to believe again in the redemptive power of reading and writing fiction.
Read Caroline Baum's Review
Golly. This is a totally original, really bold idea: a collection of short stories told by animals. Animals in the human world, interacting with us and observing how we behave in times of conflict. And not just that, but these animals are literary creatures: Colette's cat taking a stroll through a trench on the Western Front; a tortoise once owned by the Tolstoy family drifting through space during the Cold War; a dolphin trained by the US navy that writes a letter to Sylvia Plath. Unlike anything I've come across, this is writing that takes enormous risks, is funny, surreal, unpredictable. Without preachiness, Dovey has found a really fresh and interesting way to examine our brutality and our humanity, to remind us of what we share with other creatures and what separates us from our animal companions. A major talent with something universal to say.
About the Author
Ceridwen Dovey was born in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, and went to high school in Sydney. She did her undergraduate study at Harvard, and spent a year as research assistant for the current affairs program NOW with Bill Moyers. She wrote her novel Blood Kin as her thesis for a Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Cape Town, and has a PhD in anthropology from New York University. She now lives in Sydney.
'Only the Animals is mesmerizing and exhilarating, funny and moving. It has elements of strangeness and greatness, like Kafka. Dovey's exquisitely drawn creatures grapple nobly with their animal natures, a genius point of view from which to illuminate how we humans - ostensibly conscious and verbal - are trapped in ours. This book feels like a major mind announcing itself.' - Anna Funder
Number Of Pages: 256
Published: 23rd April 2014
Dimensions (cm): 23.1 x 15.3 x 1.9
Weight (kg): 23.1