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Book Review: Only the Animals

In Book Reviews, Fiction by Jacki Skole

A Russian tortoise launched into space during the Cold War. A Lebanese parrot abandoned on the doorknob of a pet store during Israel’s 2006 bombing of Beirut. A US Navy-trained dolphin called to serve in the Second Gulf War. These are some of the protagonists in Only the Animals, Ceridwen Dovey’s captivating collection of short stories that explores the many expressions of the human-animal relationship. The narrators in Dovey’s fictional tales are animals—not their live selves, but their souls—and it’s this convention that sets up the tension in each story, along with the settings—human conflicts dating back to the late …

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Writing for animals: Advice for writers of animal rights fiction

In Animal Rights, Essays, For Writers by John Yunker

In mainstream fiction today, “normal” characters tend to be carnivores, or at least omnivores, and “fringe” characters tend to be vegetarian or vegan. Naturally, I disagree with this distinction. But I also understand that most writers are simply following convention, simply writing about the world as they see it today. But the world is changing. And fiction has a critical role in not only reflecting these changes but also in imagining the world as it can be. Which is one reason I wrote The Tourist Trail and co-founded Ashland Creek Press — to help publish these works when we find them. …

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Book Review: How Animals Grieve by Barbara J. King

In Animal Behavior, Birds, Book Reviews, Nonfiction by John Yunker

Let me begin by saying I recommend this book to anyone who doubts that animals grieve. The evidence presented is overwhelming. Dolphins who try to keep their dead calves afloat. Elephants who seek out the remains of their dead years after their passing. A cat who wails inconsolably after losing a sibling. A turtle who comes ashore and stares for hours at the photo of its dead loved one. Or the story of two ducks, Kohl and Harper, who had been rescued from horrible lives in a foie gras factory. Author Barbara King writes: That Kohl and Harper lived for …