Only the Animals
Exquisitely written, playful and poignant, Only the Animalsis a remarkable literary achievement by the award-winning Ceridwen Dovey, one of our brightest young writers.
'The most original, surprising and inspired book I read this year.' Stephen Romei, Weekend Australian
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 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. 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 ...
An animal's-eye view of humans at our brutal worst and our creative best, Only the Animalsasks us to believe again in the redemptive power of reading and writing fiction.
'Only the Animalsis 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
'The life stories related by these very civilized animals are in some cases touching (the elephant), in others amusing (the mussel), but all are absorbing. They are transmitted to us with a light touch and no trace of sentimentality.' J.M. Coetzee
Ceridwen Dovey was born in South Africa and raised between South Africa and Australia. She studied social anthropology at Harvard as an undergraduate and received her Masters in social anthropology from New York University. Her debut novel, Blood Kin, was published in fifteen countries, shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Award, and selected for the US National Book Foundation's prestigious '5 Under 35' honours list. The Wall Street Journal has named her as one of their 'artists to watch.' Her second book of fiction, Only the Animals, was described by The Guardian as a 'dazzling, imagined history of humans' relationship with animals.' Ceridwen lives in Sydney. ceridwendovey.com