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Cover image courtesy of Penguin Books Australia.
y separately published work icon Only the Animals selected work   short story  
Issue Details: First known date: 2014... 2014 Only the Animals
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'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)

Notes

  • A selection of interrelated short stories.
  • Epigraph:

    On one side there is luminosity, trust, faith, the beauty of the earth; on the other side, darkness, doubt, unbelief, the cruelty of the earth, the capacity of people to do evil. When I write, the first side is true; when I do not the second is. –Czeslaw Milosz, Road-Side Dog

    Each creature is key to all other creatures, A dog sitting in a patch of sun licking itself, says he, is at one moment a dog and at the next a vessel of revelation. – J.M. Coetzee, Elizabeth Costello

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Melbourne, Victoria,: Penguin , 2014 .
      image of person or book cover 1325153955404732829.jpg
      Cover image courtesy of Penguin Books Australia.
      Extent: 264p.
      Note/s:
      • Published 23 April 2014
      ISBN: 9781926428581
    • Melbourne, Victoria,: Penguin , 2015 .
      image of person or book cover 8048203787513071926.jpg
      Cover image courtesy of publisher.
      Extent: 256p.
      Note/s:
      • Published 25 February 2015
      ISBN: 9780143573012
    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Atlantic Books ,
      2015 .
      image of person or book cover 3565731179613292989.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 245p.
      Note/s:
      • Published February 5th 2015
      ISBN: 9781782397175
    • New York (City), New York (State),
      c
      United States of America (USA),
      c
      Americas,
      :
      Farrar Straus and Giroux ,
      2015 .
      image of person or book cover 9110265717537981421.jpg
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: 256p.p.
      Edition info: 1st American ed.
      ISBN: 9780374226633, 0374226636

Other Formats

  • Also large print.

Works about this Work

Revisiting the 'Problem' of Anthropomorphism through Ceridwen Dovey’s Only the Animals (2014) Clare Archer-Lean , 2019 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Literary Studies , July vol. 34 no. 1 2019;

'In Ceridwen Dovey’s short story cycle, Only the Animals, inter-textual allusions to established fictional animals are imposed onto settings of human conflict and ventriloquised through diverse animal subjects. This paper defends narrating from a non-human animal perspective, not as a radical act, but as a move to reinvigorate our conceptions of human-animal relations. Meaningful encounters between human and non-human animals are presented with a recognition of the impossibility of full and mutual inter-species understanding. The juxtaposition of the limits of figuring literary animals with human/animal intimacy and incomprehension marks Dovey’s work as a logical progression of some ideas presented in J. M. Coetzee’s Elizabeth Costello. This paper reads Dovey’s deployment of textual self-referentiality and overt intersection with Coetzee’s work in Only the Animals as a reflexive writing form that works to critique another representational dispossession: that of anthropocentric realism. Both works understand that humans do not share language with non-human animals but we often meet questions of the animal through stories. This makes the stories we tell highly significant; indeed – vital – components of the cultural landscape.'

Source: Abstract.

This Is the Fleischgeist? Hayley Singer , 2019 single work column
— Appears in: The Lifted Brow , March no. 41 2019; (p. 5-7)

'I am listening to the ghosts of the meatified. It is to them that I - my thinking, my writing - is accountable. But, with only these words, how can I account for even a fraction of what goes on in the world of industrial animal agriculture? I can't. Not really. I know this. Here I go.' (Publication abstract)

Greener Pastures and Tangled Gums : The Rise of Australian Eco-fiction Rachel Fetherston , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Overland [Online] , December 2016;
'The Australian environment has long been treated as an enigma by a large portion of the non-Indigenous public. For many Australians residing in cities and suburbs, the natural world exists as an entity entirely separate to the goings-on of the everyday. Rural, sweeping pastures and the ‘barren’ outback are often what come to mind for those who do not or are unable to make a conscious effort to engage with nature. A short but destructive history of mining, agriculture, logging and reef-bleaching has left little of our unique biodiversity intact, and current political trends demonstrate a disinclination to ecologically minded policy.' (Introduction)
Jo Langdon Reviews Only the Animals by Ceridwen Dovey Jo Langdon , 2016 single work review
— Appears in: Mascara Literary Review , September no. 19 2016;

— Review of Only the Animals Ceridwen Dovey , 2014 selected work short story
Book Review – Only the Animals by Ceridwen Dovey Joanne Peulen , 2015 single work review
— Appears in: Booklover Book Reviews 2015;

— Review of Only the Animals Ceridwen Dovey , 2014 selected work short story
A Camel's-Eye View of Beastly Relationships Geordie Williamson , 2014 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 26-27 April 2014; (p. 17)

— Review of Only the Animals Ceridwen Dovey , 2014 selected work short story
Ceridwen Dovey, Only the Animals 2014 single work review
— Appears in: The Saturday Paper , 26 April 2014;

— Review of Only the Animals Ceridwen Dovey , 2014 selected work short story
[Untitled] Richard King , 2014 single work review
— Appears in: The Monthly , May no. 100 2014; (p. 56)

— Review of Only the Animals Ceridwen Dovey , 2014 selected work short story
Modern Menagerie Sam Cadman , 2014 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , May no. 361 2014; (p. 54)

— Review of Only the Animals Ceridwen Dovey , 2014 selected work short story
No Creature Comfort in a Stark View of Human Epiphanies Andrew Fuhrmann , 2014 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 17 May 2014; The Age , 17 May 2014; The Canberra Times , 17 May 2014;

— Review of Only the Animals Ceridwen Dovey , 2014 selected work short story
A Ragged Pair of Claws Stephen Romei , 2014 single work column
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 22-23 March 2014; (p. 17)
Ceridwen Dovey Catherine Armitage , 2014 single work interview
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 19-20 April 2014; (p. 30-31) The Canberra Times , 19 April 2014; (p. 19) The Age , 19 April 2014; (p. 30)
'This writer's animal narrators bear witness to humans at their worst and so inform us of our true natures.'
Liberated by an Animal Instinct Stephen Romei , 2014 single work column
— Appears in: The Australian , 19 May 2014; (p. 6)
Dovey Scoops New Prize for Australian Writers Jason Steger , 2014 single work column
— Appears in: The Age , 29 October 2014; (p. 51)
Award for the Australian Books That Fly under the Radar Martin Shaw , 2014 single work column
— Appears in: The Guardian Australia , 29 October 2014;
'A Melbourne book chain has established an award for new writers. Martin Shaw explains why the award exists and the novels awarded this year'
Last amended 8 Dec 2017 09:48:31
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