Thursday, 24 April 2014

Review: Only the Animals by Ceridwen Dovey

First and Foremost, a big shout out to The Reading Room and Penguin Books Australia for my free review copy. Thanks folks, you did not disappoint.

Only the Animals is, perhaps, one of the most unusual collections of short stories that I have read in quite some time. Each story is told from the perspective of a different animal and tells a little bit about their lives (and their deaths,) and unique relationships with humans, using various points in modern history as a backdrop. The opening story is told from the perspective of a camel who is travelling through outback Australia in the company of none other than Henry Lawson. Another story (my personal favourite,) is set in France and told from the perspective of a cat that once belonged to French author, Colette. And then there is a dolphin who writes a letter to Sylvia Plath ... (Does anyone else sense a bit of a theme here?) More than that, Only the Animals also offers a unique insight into human nature and, sadly, the sheer magnitude of human brutality.

I enjoyed reading this collection, though I felt that while each story was very well written, some drew me in and held my attention far more readily than others. This one is recommended for that moment when you want to be delighted by a short and unique tale or two. (Or should that be tail ...)