MAC'S BACKS BOOK CLUB DISCUSSES TALKING ANIMALS
Mac's Backs Book Club discusses Talking Animals by Joni Murphy
A fable for our times, Joni Murphy's Talking Animals takes place in an all-animal world where creatures rather like us are forced to deal with an all-too-familiar landscape of soul-crushing jobs, polluted oceans, and a creeping sense of doom.
It's New York City, nowish. Lemurs brew espresso. Birds tend bar. There are bears on Wall Street, and a billionaire racehorse is mayor. Sea creatures are viewed with fear and disgust and there's chatter about building a wall to keep them out.
Alfonzo is a moody alpaca. His friend Mitchell is a sociable llama. They both work at City Hall, but their true passions are noise music and underground politics. Partly to meet girls, partly because the world might be ending, these lowly bureaucrats embark on an unlikely mission to expose the corrupt system that's destroying the city from within. Their project takes them from the city's bowels to its extremities, where they encounter the Sea Equality Revolutionary Front, who are either a group of dangerous radicals or an inspiring liberation movement.
In this novel, at last, nature kvetches and grieves, while talking animals offer us a kind of solace in the guise of dumb jokes. This is mass extinction as told by BoJack Horseman. This is The Fantastic Mr. Fox journeying through Kafka's Amerika. This is dogs and cats, living together. Talking Animals is an urgent allegory about friendship, art, and the elemental struggle to change one's life under the low ceiling of capitalism.
A 21st-century combination of Animal Farm and Aesop's Fables . . . Murphy packs a lot of issues--class, climate change immigration, vegetarianism, and more--into a familiar plot about malfeasance. She balances her poetic ruminations and dogmatic lecturing with a goofy relish for puns . . . Weird yet engrossing and hard to forget.
New York City populated by animals. The protagonist is an alpaca. [ Talking Animals is] this amazing capitalist critique that feels very reassuring, depicting a world already turned upside down."
--Kate Elizabeth Russell, author of My Dark Vanessa
Joni Murphy is a writer from New Mexico who lives in New York. Her debut novel Double Teenage was published in 2016. It was named one of The Globe and Mail's 100 Best Books of 2016.
Tha book will be available at Mac's Backs or through our website at the 20% book club discount.
We will meet at the Coventry Peace Arch, near the Coventry Village Library, weather permitting. If the weather is inclement, we will meet via Zoom. The link will be posted by noon the day of the meeting.