It's hard being a person. It won't do your ego any good to take an objective look back at the history of the human being, especially if you take into consideration the impact our species has had on other species, and on the planet. We all, to some degree, understand the ruin we have wrought upon the world. A few of us are still stupid enough to be able to ignore it. But someday we'll be extinct. I'll be gone. You'll be gone, too. We all will be. You'll have wished you read this book before that happens. It's an eccentric and beautiful fictionalization of the relationships between individual, historical animals (like Tolstoy's tortoise) and how they experienced the world, its joys and sorrows, its triumphs and subjugations. If you've ever wondered what your pets are thinking, this is the closest you'll come to understanding their points of view, and it may just change yours with regard to them. It's an almost unthinkably sad book - ten short stories narrated by animals killed as afterthoughts in the great human drama that is life. But it will help you understand the meaning of the word "we" a little more clearly. That "we" are not separate from our earthly animal counterparts. That "they" are an integral part of "us." It will make you understand that in enacting the mass enslavement, torture, and slaughter of our animal compadres, "we" have really been killing ourselves the whole time.— Joel
Perhaps only the animals can tell us what it is to be human
The souls of ten animals caught up in human conflicts over the last century and connected to both famous and little-known writers in surprising ways tell their astonishing stories of life and death. In a trench on the Western Front, a cat recalls her owner Colette's theatrical antics in Paris. In Nazi Germany, a dog seeks enlightenment. A Russian tortoise once owned by the Tolstoys drifts in space during the Cold War. During the Siege of Sarajevo, a starving bear tells a fairy tale. And a dolphin sent to Iraq by the U.S. Navy writes a letter to Sylvia Plath.
Exquisitely written, playful, and poignant, Ceridwen Dovey's Only the Animals is a remarkable literary achievement by one of our brightest young writers. An animal's-eye-view of humans at our brutal, violent worst and our creative, imaginative best, 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.
About the Author
Ceridwen Dovey's debut novel, Blood Kin, was published in fifteen countries, short-listed for the Dylan Thomas Award, and selected for the U.S. National Book Foundation's prestigious 5 Under 35 honors list. The Wall Street Journal named her one of their "artists to watch." She studied social anthropology at Harvard and New York University, and now lives with her husband and son in Sydney. Only the Animals recently won the 2014 Readings New Australian Writing Award.