'Ceridwen Dovey was born in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, and went to high school in Sydney. She did her undergraduate study at Harvard, and spent a year as research assistant for the current affairs program NOW with Bill Moyers. She wrote her novel Blood Kin as her thesis for a Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Cape Town, and has a PhD in anthropology from New York University. She lives in Sydney.' (Source: Penguin Books Australia website)
'In a trench on the Western Front a cat recalls her owner Colette's theatrical antics in Paris. In Nazi Germany, Himmler's 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.
'Ten animal souls tell extraordinary stories about their lives and deaths, caught up in human conflicts of the last century and its turnings. Together they form an animal's eye view of humans at both our brutal, violent worst and our creative, imaginative best. Exquisitely written, playful and poignant, Only the Animals is a remarkable literary achievement by one of our brightest young writers. 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.' (Publication summary)
'A chef, a portraitist and a barber are taken hostage in a coup to overthrow their boss, the president of a nameless country. They are held captive in a palatial retreat in the mountains high above the capital city. Meanwhile, the chef's daughter, the portraitist's pregnant wife and the barber's lover watch their men from the shadows – for in such precarious times, intimate relationships are as dangerous as political ones. As the old order falls, so does the veil that hides the truth about the secret passions of these men and women.
'Drawing her readers masterfully towards the novel's devastating climax, Ceridwen Dovey reveals how humanity's most atavistic impulses – vanity, vengeance and greed – seethe, relentlessly, just beneath the surface of everyday life. '