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Animals Paperback – 17 Jun 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 161 pages
  • Publisher: Shoemaker & Hoard, Div of Avalon Publishing Group Inc; 1 edition (17 Jun. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593762771
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593762773
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 14 x 1.4 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 467,177 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Praise for "Animals" "LePan has an astute understanding of the contradictions and weaknesses of human nature . . . ["Animals"] will most certainly make you look at that steak on your dinner plate a little differently." --"The Boston Globe" "A powerful piece of writing, and a disturbing call to conscience." --J.M. Coetzee "LePan's storytelling skills are on full display and the narrative brims with tension.... Animals is a brave and frequently fascinating novel, wrought with painful choices, harrowing journeys, and a deep passion for its subject matter."--"Montreal Review of Books" "An engaging story that asks deep and challenging questions." --Peter Singer, author of "Animal Liberation" "An engrossing, elegantly written, and timely contribution to the great tradition of dystopic fiction." --Kathryn Shevelow, author of "For the Love of Animals" "Devastating. "Animals" is a powerful novel, and a fully convincing one." --P.K. Page "Well written and engrossing. I found that the story hooked me from the start." --Angus Taylor, University of Victoria, author of "Animals and Ethics" "Provocative, original, beautifully crafted and achingly human, this is a novel that illuminates what we so called 'higher beings' strive to keep darkly hidden from our consciousness. No more, no more...destined to become a classic." --Catherine Banks, author of "Bone Cage" "A deeply moving narrative that can change your life--it did mine." --Thomas Hurka, Jackman Distinguished Chair in Philosophical Studies, University of Toronto "Immediately gripping and deeply moving, "Animals" imagines a future in which nonhuman animals have become extinct, and 'defective' once-human beings called mongrels have replaced them . . . In this powerful tale of a mongrel boy named Sam, Don LePan compels us to consider our own relationship to the fellow creatures that we love, abuse, and eat. "Animals" is an engrossing, elegantly written, and ti

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 12 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Gripping and important 2 Aug. 2010
By Jonathan Balcombe - Published on
Format: Paperback
As gripping as it is important, LePan's brilliant first novel tackles the largest moral issue of our time while scarcely mentioning its victims at all. Instead, a century into the future, cognitively challenged humans called "mongrels" take the place of now-extinct factory farmed animals--grown in crowded sheds, mutilated, fattened in finishing pens then prodded into chutes for slaughter. We meet one of these unfortunates, Sam, who is loved early in life but finds himself caught up in the future of meat ("yurn") production. By creating a subhuman category, LePan blurs the line we draw between ourselves and other sentient animals. Lest anyone fail to connect this story with our appalling current treatment of animals destined for our plates, the author includes an unambiguous afterword.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A Terrible Beauty 22 July 2010
By Paul Keen - Published on
Format: Paperback
If you read any novel, read this! Animals is one of the most important Canadian novels to have emerged in many years. Utterly disturbing and gripping and incredibly well told, it poses difficult questions and highlights in unsettling ways our capacity for complicity in a whole range of practices that we would rather simply not know about. LePan's dystopian satire is poignant and dark and always absolutely bang on. It is set somewhere around the end of the twenty-first century. The livestock industry has collapsed as a result of increasingly barbaric practices so meat is no longer available. Worse, there has been a rapidly growing rate of children born with severe disabilities, so much so that these children have become classified as mongrels -- as creatures rather than humans. Things get worse when people realize that the answer is obvious: these mongrels could be consumed as meat. All that is needed is a name change. They come to be referred to as chattel, and their meat as yurn or fland. The story itself is extraordinarily well conceived -- it is so easy to go overboard with this kind of writing but LePan never does. Quite the opposite, a great part of its power lies in what LePan manages to avoid; the narrative is suggestive rather than graphic or confrontational. Somewhere Jonathan Swift is grinning wryly. But what can get lost in the brilliance of the satire is just how beautiful the writing is -- always at its most poetic at all the most awful moments. It was horrible and yet I couldn't stop reading as the plot moves inexorably forward. The final sections were about the saddest thing that I have read, but never in a way that seemed needless or opportunistic or excessive. This is a major addition to Canadian literature.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
couldn't put it down 5 Dec. 2010
By Robin L. Sewell - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
read the other reviews and decided to purchase the book. from the moment I picked it up, I could not put it down. Brilliant and disturbing, I feel compelled to give the book as gifts to a few special people. It's the kind of book that will stay with you and change the way you think about people and animals. Haunting.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Brilliant, teeth-clenchingly frightening. 20 Aug. 2010
By R. Rastogi - Published on
Format: Paperback
Aside from "Eating Animals" by Jonathan Safran Foer, the preeminent treatise on why factorty farming is cruel, inhumane, and flat-out disgusting.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Nearly a bull's-eye 17 Sept. 2010
By Rick Bogle - Published on
Format: Paperback
Animals, Don LePlan's first novel, is a near bull's-eye critique of factory farming and the public's apparent willful ignorance of the scope and extent of the animals' near around-the-clock misery.

Set in some not-too-distant future, cows, pigs, chickens, and most other animals have gone extinct in a pandemic of our own making -- the result of super germs evolving in response to the widespread chronic use of antibiotics in feedlots and other animal agriculture confinement systems. Coincidentally, or perhaps not, at about the same time, the number of children born with mental deficits and other problems skyrockets.

The absence of animals and the increase in handicapped children lead to these children being redefined as subhuman animals. In LePlan's dark vision of the future, these "mongrels" take the place of pets and reminiscent of Soylent Green or Swift's modest proposal, come to be intensively farmed for meat.

The central character is a boy who is deaf; his language difficulties result in him being classified as a mongrel. The novel's main themes are developed through the other characters' relationships with him as he moves in and out of their lives.

Animals misses the bull's-eye though because, like some of the novel's characters, the author admits his own continued consumption of some animals. LePlan builds a compelling case that simply designating some animals human and others not doesn't mean that the things we do to those not human aren't barbaric or infinitely callous, yet like most of the characters in his novel, in some circumstances, he admits eating as if he doesn't know. This fact will allow some readers to dismiss their own inconsistencies toward animals and perhaps view the work as just another work of science fiction horror.

In spite of this unfortunate weakness, the story and the characters are likely to captivate some readers even if they have to skip through the more graphic scenes. Somewhere in the book, some readers might even give a moment's thought to the implications of their own dietary decisions.

Well worth reading.
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