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Among Animals: The Lives of Animals and Humans in Contemporary Short Fiction

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"Any animal lover or connoisseur of high-quality fiction will appreciate this collection and the artistry of its contributors." — Booklist "Very fine literary fiction." — The Chattahoochee Review "Among Animals is as provocative as it is urgent, and as accessible as it is emotional." — The Goose: A Journal of Arts, Environment, and Culture in Canada The relationships among human "Any animal lover or connoisseur of high-quality fiction will appreciate this collection and the artistry of its contributors." — Booklist "Very fine literary fiction." — The Chattahoochee Review "Among Animals is as provocative as it is urgent, and as accessible as it is emotional." — The Goose: A Journal of Arts, Environment, and Culture in Canada The relationships among human and non-human animals goes back to the beginning of time-and the ways in which these relationships have evolved (and sometimes not) is the inspiration for this collection of contemporary short fiction, penned by writers from across the globe. This diverse collection of stories explores the ways in which we live among-and often in conflict with-our non-human counterparts. These stories feature animals from the familiar (dogs and cats) to the exotic (elands and emus), and in these stories animals are both the rescuers and the rescued. Within these pages are glimpses of the world through the eyes of a zookeeper, a shelter worker, a penguin researcher, and a neighborhood stray, among many others-all highlighting the ways in which animals and humans understand and challenge one another. Among Animals is a dynamic collection of stories from the world's most gifted contemporary authors-those who pay close attention to the creatures with which we share our planet, and who inspire us to pay closer attention as well. Stories and contributors include: Alas, Falada! by Diane Lefer Greyhound by Jean Ryan Beyond the Strandline by Mary Akers Meat by C.S. Malerich Aren’t You Pretty? by Patrick Hicks The Ecstatic Cry by Midge Raymond Litter by Philip Armstrong The Boto’s Child by Rosalie Loewen Emu by Jessica Zbeida With Sheep by Carol Guess and Kelly Magee Pelicans by Julian Hoffman The Weight of Things Unsaid by Sara Dupree Blue Murder by Suzanne Kamata Bad Berry Season by Melodie Edwards Miriam’s Lantern by Ray Keifetz


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"Any animal lover or connoisseur of high-quality fiction will appreciate this collection and the artistry of its contributors." — Booklist "Very fine literary fiction." — The Chattahoochee Review "Among Animals is as provocative as it is urgent, and as accessible as it is emotional." — The Goose: A Journal of Arts, Environment, and Culture in Canada The relationships among human "Any animal lover or connoisseur of high-quality fiction will appreciate this collection and the artistry of its contributors." — Booklist "Very fine literary fiction." — The Chattahoochee Review "Among Animals is as provocative as it is urgent, and as accessible as it is emotional." — The Goose: A Journal of Arts, Environment, and Culture in Canada The relationships among human and non-human animals goes back to the beginning of time-and the ways in which these relationships have evolved (and sometimes not) is the inspiration for this collection of contemporary short fiction, penned by writers from across the globe. This diverse collection of stories explores the ways in which we live among-and often in conflict with-our non-human counterparts. These stories feature animals from the familiar (dogs and cats) to the exotic (elands and emus), and in these stories animals are both the rescuers and the rescued. Within these pages are glimpses of the world through the eyes of a zookeeper, a shelter worker, a penguin researcher, and a neighborhood stray, among many others-all highlighting the ways in which animals and humans understand and challenge one another. Among Animals is a dynamic collection of stories from the world's most gifted contemporary authors-those who pay close attention to the creatures with which we share our planet, and who inspire us to pay closer attention as well. Stories and contributors include: Alas, Falada! by Diane Lefer Greyhound by Jean Ryan Beyond the Strandline by Mary Akers Meat by C.S. Malerich Aren’t You Pretty? by Patrick Hicks The Ecstatic Cry by Midge Raymond Litter by Philip Armstrong The Boto’s Child by Rosalie Loewen Emu by Jessica Zbeida With Sheep by Carol Guess and Kelly Magee Pelicans by Julian Hoffman The Weight of Things Unsaid by Sara Dupree Blue Murder by Suzanne Kamata Bad Berry Season by Melodie Edwards Miriam’s Lantern by Ray Keifetz

30 review for Among Animals: The Lives of Animals and Humans in Contemporary Short Fiction

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ti

    The Short of It: A deeply introspective look at the role of animals in society. The Rest of It: This is a powerful, and I’ll admit, at times, unsettling collection of short stories that center around animals and their place in society. I expected most of the stories to center around “man’s best friend” but the collection goes much deeper than that. These stories include a man’s infatuation with a bird, a story told from a stray dog’s point of view, a woman impregnated (magically speaking) by a dolph The Short of It: A deeply introspective look at the role of animals in society. The Rest of It: This is a powerful, and I’ll admit, at times, unsettling collection of short stories that center around animals and their place in society. I expected most of the stories to center around “man’s best friend” but the collection goes much deeper than that. These stories include a man’s infatuation with a bird, a story told from a stray dog’s point of view, a woman impregnated (magically speaking) by a dolphin, a pregnant woman slowly becoming goat-like, and probably what was the most powerful story for me, one about an animal taken in as “meat” that suddenly becomes quite a bit more than that. What I briefly mentioned above doesn’t even cover the half of it. My main reason for accepting this book for review, is that it also includes two favorites stories of mine, written by Midge Raymond (The Ecstatic Cry) and Jean Ryan (Greyhound). I was introduced to their writing through their story collections (Forgetting English and Survival Skills) some time ago and ever since, I’ve looked at short fiction in an entirely new light. Short. Fiction. Can. Pull. You. In. Yes. Yes, it can. I know lots and lots of readers that shy away from short fiction. Trust me, I am a novel gal. I love to lose myself in a long novel but if you haven’t given short fiction a chance lately, you really should. Among Animals, in particular, really shook me up. I was all torn up over this one. It’s not a sad collection, but at the same time, it’s not a happy collection either. Each story seems to call the reader out, and then take you down a peg. It’s a little unnerving but at the same time, comforting. That’s a strange word to use for some of these stories but there was a solemnity to it all that made me revere the collection all the more. If you are looking to stretch yourself a little as a reader and have been trying to work some short fiction into your reading schedule, I cannot recommend this collection highly enough. It’s thought-provoking, somber but also totally in your face. I loved it. For more reviews, visit my blog: Book Chatter.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    I really didn't know what I was getting into when I won this book, but I was glad that I did. This is a compilation of fictional short stories from a variety of authors that showcase the relationships between animals and humans. Through these stories, we are reminded that the way we treat animals reflects back on us as humans. Some thoughts on my favorite stories in the compilation: Litter: Told from a stray dog's point of view as the dog tries to survive on the streets and an examines the relatio I really didn't know what I was getting into when I won this book, but I was glad that I did. This is a compilation of fictional short stories from a variety of authors that showcase the relationships between animals and humans. Through these stories, we are reminded that the way we treat animals reflects back on us as humans. Some thoughts on my favorite stories in the compilation: Litter: Told from a stray dog's point of view as the dog tries to survive on the streets and an examines the relationship of its human rescuers as the muddle through a relationship. I loved this story and the dogs point of view, we hear many rescue stories from the human's point of view that is always how the animal saved the human. I appreciate the story from the other side and examining how dogs end up on the street. The Boto's Child: An enchanting and magical story about the mythology surrounding the pink river dolphins of the Amazon, the Boto's. Even though completely based on mythology of several native Amazon tribes, this moving story shows how humans have empathized with the Boto for centuries. Miriam's Lantern: An appropriate closing story for the collection; a young man watches the last of a species of bird die alone in captivity. As he watches the bird live out it's life, he examines his own choices, knowing that he had a hand in the species demise. I thought this story was especially poignant today, as we may very well be watching a variety of species die due to choices we have made. Among Animals was provided for free through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Debbie Heaton

    Among Animals is a diverse collection of short stories regarding the relationships between human and non-human animals. The stories explore how we live and survive with both domestic and exotic animals. This is truly an amazing collection of stories that will inspire the reader to take a closer look at the animals in their life. Animal lovers will most definitely want to check this collection out.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

    The short stories in this book are about humans and their story. The animals in these stories are showing how the humans live their lives. It’s not a warm and fuzzy relationship. It is an interesting relationship. Some of these stories will make you think about how you are living your life.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Bobby

    Among Animals touts itself as a collection of short stories "from the world's most gifted contemporary authors" and that these stories "inspire us to pay closer attention ["to the creatures with whom we share the planet"] . As far as the authors go, I'm not intimately familiar with any of them, not that that means they're not great writers. These stories are well written and avoid cliched ways of presenting the stories. Also, these authors do not tend to indulge in any "dreaded anthropomorphism. Among Animals touts itself as a collection of short stories "from the world's most gifted contemporary authors" and that these stories "inspire us to pay closer attention ["to the creatures with whom we share the planet"] . As far as the authors go, I'm not intimately familiar with any of them, not that that means they're not great writers. These stories are well written and avoid cliched ways of presenting the stories. Also, these authors do not tend to indulge in any "dreaded anthropomorphism." Instead, we find a collection which varies from story to story in the manner in which the objective is attempted / achieved. When it's all said and done, Among Animals is a collection of short fiction that can certainly open the eyes of open-minded readers and is well worth a read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nathan Schmidt

    I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads, and am grateful for the opportunity. The short stories in the anthology covered a lot of ground in the animal kingdom, from house pets to wild animals. The style of writing also varied, with one having an almost magical realism element to it and another actually going into the mind of the animal. What I liked about the stories in general was that they were all relatively balanced - they weren't patronizingly naive about nature, but even I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads, and am grateful for the opportunity. The short stories in the anthology covered a lot of ground in the animal kingdom, from house pets to wild animals. The style of writing also varied, with one having an almost magical realism element to it and another actually going into the mind of the animal. What I liked about the stories in general was that they were all relatively balanced - they weren't patronizingly naive about nature, but even the depressingly realistic pieces had moments of hope and wonder that kept me interested. Still, some of the pieces were a little too dark for my taste; I thought they were good works, but they just weren't my cup of tea. On the other hand, I enjoyed many of the stories, and overall left the book with a positive feeling. I also found it interesting how many of the stories made the human elements of the story equally important in parallel with the animals featured. I sometimes thought that the human focus was a little too strong, but I also felt that the links allow the reader to connect with the themes of the story and with the hearts of the animals better. One issue I had with a few of the stories was that there were unresolved or unaddressed issues in the end that left me hanging. Many other stories in the book ended on conclusive, satisfying notes though, so I have no major objections. I feel that the book opened my awareness to a number of issues I had not thought too much about before, from necropsies of deceased zoo animals to the hunting for captive dolphins to the fates of racing dogs. My favorite story was The Boto's Child. It stood out to me with the magic blended in with the realism, something I really didn't see too much of in the other stories. The ending was touching. Plus, I felt a special sense of awe toward the Amazon river dolphin, a rare and beautiful species that is under threat of dying out. I felt that the story was a suitable treatment to the remarkable creature. Overall, I think this collection of short stories embodies the theme of animals very well. Although a couple stories could use a little improvement, I am satisfied with the book.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Joanne

    This book of short stories was absolutely fascinating. The need for humans to study and understand animals is so prevalent. One story really got to me. Greyhound has made me think about looking into adopting said breed. All of the stories were not as compelling, but brought to mind all of the fascination we as humans have for other creatures. The world would not be as fascinating without all the other creatures.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mindy Mejia

    There are no Hollywood endings in this absorbing and challenging collection. You will wonder, you will ache, you will think deeply about the animals that surround your life, and after experiencing these fresh and startlingly honest stories you will no longer take any form of life for granted.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Martha Jackson

  10. 5 out of 5

    Wan Lin Tee

  11. 4 out of 5

    Adele R.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Genevieve

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Molidor

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mario Spada

  15. 4 out of 5

    Armand Chauvel

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lorraine

  17. 5 out of 5

    Vince

  18. 5 out of 5

    Oliviah

  19. 4 out of 5

    Martina

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

  21. 4 out of 5

    Elena Teresa

  22. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    *Ashland Creek Press sent me these books in exchange for review but that in no way influences my opinions on the novels!* Title: Among Animals Editor: John Yunker Rating: 3/5 Stars Genre: Contemporary Short Fiction Publisher: Ashland Creek Press Format Read: Paperpack Synopsis: A collection of short stories depicting animals and humans and their intermingled relationship in society. This collection of contemporary short fiction explores the ways in which animals impact humans, and how humans impact ani *Ashland Creek Press sent me these books in exchange for review but that in no way influences my opinions on the novels!* Title: Among Animals Editor: John Yunker Rating: 3/5 Stars Genre: Contemporary Short Fiction Publisher: Ashland Creek Press Format Read: Paperpack Synopsis: A collection of short stories depicting animals and humans and their intermingled relationship in society. This collection of contemporary short fiction explores the ways in which animals impact humans, and how humans impact animals. The stories’ animals range from cats and dogs to elands and emus. The narratives are seen through the perspective of zookeepers, shelter workers, researchers and even the animals themselves. Although sometimes unsettling, “Among Animals” has stories you won’t soon forget. Within these pages are glimpses of the world through the eyes of a zookeeper, a shelter worker, a penguin researcher, and a neighborhood stray, among many others-all highlighting the ways in which animals and humans understand and challenge one another. Among Animals is a dynamic collection of stories from the world's most gifted contemporary authors-those who pay close attention to the creatures with which we share our planet, and who inspire us to pay closer attention as well. Things I liked: (spoiler free) i. Unique Narratives: each story had a very distinct voice. I was worried that a collection of short stories all about animals would get a little repetitive, but each author had their own voice and story to tell and each one was unique. ii. Unsettling Message: I loved how the collection went even deeper than “man’s best friend” or really cutesy relationships with animals. Not a lot of the stories had happy endings, and many of them left a bad taste in your mouth. You aren’t likely to forget these stories any time soon, which I think is hugely important for readers in today’s society. Human’s have a very complex, and not always good, relationship with animals. iii. “Meat”: I thought one of the short stories “Meat” deserved special recognition. Everyone should definitely read it. I thought the message was really powerful and just SO important and prevalent. Things I didn’t like: (spoiler free) i. No happy endings: Honestly I would have liked to see at least a few happy endings... I think it’s a little unrealistic for every story to end badly. Some of the relationships between humans and animals should have been happier-- as animals have brought me only joy and happy endings in my life. ii. Engagement: not all of the stories grabbed my attention. Obviously, that’s to be expected in a collection of short stories, but I wish I had connected to or liked more of them. I thought each had a unique message that deserves recognition, but I’m all about liking the story, and I found that difficult at some places!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Helia Rethmann

  24. 5 out of 5

    C.S. Malerich

  25. 5 out of 5

    John Yunker

  26. 4 out of 5

    Midge

  27. 4 out of 5

    Virginia Baker

  28. 5 out of 5

    Karyn

  29. 4 out of 5

    Eric Hefke

  30. 5 out of 5

    Caroline Marshall

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