The Library's reading rooms are open. Before you visit, please read Visiting the Library.
These remarkable short stories are a fictional thought experiment in which only animals are given full voice. Their multiple perspectives on creaturely existence yield up a complexity usually reserved for humans: unique characters of various species are revealed to be witty, eccentric, tragic and absurd. While filled with strong feeling, the stories proceed without a flicker of false sentiment. Nor does their rigorous deployment of contemporary developments in animal psychology and neuroscience undermine the primary pleasures of narrative.
Indeed the best of the stories are not only smart in a modern, scientific sense; they keep one foot in the older, folkloric tradition of animal stories, and in a wonder that is as old as our species. They recognise that the relationship between animal and human was once governed by an acknowledgment of kinship, of mutual interdependence. Only more recently has the relationship hardened into the purely utile. What Dovey ventures in these pages is to rescue animals from the cultural margins; it is a profound inversion of the usual situation in which we do the watching. The results are powerfully disconcerting.