HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The God of Animals by Aryn Kyle
Loading...

The God of Animals (2007)

by Aryn Kyle

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9225414,435 (3.75)75
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 75 mentions

English (53)  Dutch (1)  All languages (54)
Showing 1-5 of 53 (next | show all)
Excerpts from my original GR review (May 2010):
- By the end, I found this to be a dull family drama. There was nothing detestable about the story or the reading [this was audio], which was well enough done. The writing is pretty good, not sparkling.
- The narration, through the recent memories of young Alice Winston, gives us her childhood at ages 11-12, living in the world of her father, the crusty and sometimes cruel Joe Winston. Joe runs a horse business, namely breeding, training, showing horses.. Alice's older sister has married and left as the story begins, but reappears.. A classmate of Alice's has drowned. Alice's mother is a virtual room-bound invalid. All well and good except that it ALL came across to me as arbitrary. Is there a substantive point to writing the mother as a reclusive? The story just sort of aimlessly drones along.. Not so good, not impressed. ( )
  ThoughtPolice | Apr 14, 2018 |
The story centers on a young girl, about 12-years-old, attempting to understand her world. Alice Winston lives in Colorado, on a horse farm with her parents. Alice's mother remains hidden in the bedroom and very seldom ventures out of this cocoon. Alice's older sister has eloped with a rodeo cowboy, and Alice spends every day helping her father run their shabby horse farm. Aryn Kyle presents a vivid story of the trials and joys of horsemanship, but the story turns to despair at every turn. I felt trapped in the odyssey of The Grapes of Wrath, minus the eloquent language. Alice develops her first crush for a totally inappropriate male. The book ends tragically and the ending permeates the book with despair and hopelessness. ( )
  delphimo | Jan 18, 2017 |
I've had this book for ages on my shelf. While it was well written and covered some interesting aspects of love, the multiple levels of sadness present in it ultimately overwhelmed everything else for me. ( )
  bookczuk | Sep 2, 2016 |
Very well written. ( )
  Jen.ODriscoll.Lemon | Jan 23, 2016 |
Very well written. ( )
  Jen.ODriscoll.Lemon | Jan 23, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 53 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
for my mother
First words
Six months before Polly Cain drowned in the canal, my sister, Nona, ran off and married a cowboy.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0743561546, Audio CD)

The Significant Seven Spotlight Title, March 2007: Aryn Kyle's haunting coming-of-age novel is the kind of book that you want to share with everyone you know. Twelve-year-old Alice Winston is growing up fast on her father's run-down horse ranch--coping with the death of a classmate and the absence of her older sister (who ran off with a rodeo cowboy), trying to understand her depressed and bedridden mother, and attempting to earn the love and admiration of her reticent, weary father. Lyrical, powerful, and unforgettable, The God of Animals is our must-read, must-own, must-share book for March. --Daphne Durham

Amazon.com
With the sure hand of a seasoned writer, Aryn Kyle has crafted a brilliant debut with her novel, The God of Animals. Alice Winston, living on the family horse ranch, a marginal enterprise in Desert Valley, Colorado, is a 12-year-old girl with more than she can handle and no one to help her cope. Polly, a classmate of hers, drowned in the nearby canal and was carried out by Alice's father, Joe, a member of the volunteer posse. Her older sister, 16-year-old Nona, eloped with a rodeo cowboy. Her mother never leaves her bedroom, a case of clinical depression. "My mother had spent nearly my whole life in her bedroom... Nona said that one day, while I was still a baby, our mother had handed me to her, said she was tired, and gone upstairs to rest. She never came back down."

Joe has little time for Alice, other than counting on her to muck out the stalls and be polite to the paying customers. He doesn't even notice that she has outgrown her clothes. What Kyle does with this scenario is never predictable or clichéd. She writes beautifully of landscapes, interior and exterior, ravaged by extremes: the hottest summer in years, followed by a deluge; a lonely, isolated girl reaching out to a teacher, Mr. Delmar, equally alienated.

Alice starts telling lies, weaving bits and pieces of other people's lives into the tales she tells the teacher. What we eventually find out about her family is more poignant and tragic than anything she can make up. Horse lore is a large part of what explains each of the people in the novel: separating mares from their foals, the way a stud is treated, breaking a horse, ordinary everyday contact. This bond is explored in depth and each person: Alice, Nona, Joe, Joe's father, Alice's mother, is affected by this closeness in a different, unique way, revelatory of each individual's character. Much more than a coming-of-age tale, Kyle told a story of compromises and dreams that will never come true. --Valerie Ryan

10 Second Interview: A Few Words with Aryn Kyle

Q: In 2004, your short story "Foaling Season," the first chapter of The God of Animals, won a National Magazine Award for Fiction for The Atlantic Monthly. Did you have the idea for your book at the time you wrote the short story, or did the novel develop over time?
A: Three years passed between the time that I finished the short story and the time I returned to expand it into a novel. I was always interested in the characters and in the town which the story takes place, but after the story was published, I assumed I was done with them. In the aftermath of graduate school and a failed attempt at another novel, I found myself living back in my hometown of Grand Junction, Colorado, the town that Desert Valley is loosely based upon. More and more, I caught myself thinking about Alice again. I was interested in how the town had changed over the years, in the way that a tide of money and commercial culture was displacing the old families and the old ways. But mostly, I was interested in Alice's family, and in Alice's struggle to make a place for herself in a world that seems to have no place for her. The short story ended before she could really make any headway. I became curious as to where she might go and who she might become if the events of the story continued into the wider space of a novel. The story of The God of Animals starts with Chapter One, but I've always felt that the novel really starts with the second chapter.

Q: How much of your adolescence and personal experience are incorporated into your novel? Like Alice, did you ride horses growing up in Colorado?
A: Lots? None? This is a tricky question to answer. As far as lifestyle and experience, my own adolescence could not have been more different from Alice's. I didn't grow up on a ranch; didn't have a sister; my mother got out of bed and went to work every day. But adolescence is adolescence. Like Alice, I certainly know about loneliness, about longing, about regret, and about the confusion of trying to live in the world without really understanding it. Though, if I were going to be perfectly honest, I would have to admit that these are all things I found myself working through in my twenties, rather than in my teens. I did take riding lessons when I was about Alice's age, and I competed in a few local horse shows. It was such a different world from the one I'd grown up in, and though I gave it up when I started high school, I guess it made a pretty big impression on me.

Q: How did you think of the title?
A: The title didn't come to me until I'd finished the book. I was starting to panic a bit, figuring that no one would be too interested in publishing a book called Novel, which is what I'd named the file on my computer. So I did the only thing I could think of--I frantically thumbed through the pages of the draft waiting for something to pop out at me. I reread the scene between Alice and Mr. Delmar where they discuss God and spirituality. Something about that scene seemed to encapsulate some of the greater themes of the novel, the uncertainty Alice has about the world, her desire to believe in something larger than herself, her fears regarding isolation and loneliness.

Q: Do you have another novel in the works?
A: Lately, I've been working mainly on short stories. It's kind of hard for me to spend so much time working on one project, then dive into another. I've needed the time to get Alice's voice out of my head before I commit to another novel. But I do have a second novel underway--I'm superstitious, though, and it seems like bad luck to talk about something while its still in the works. Mostly, my writing starts with the characters, with understanding their flaws and their desires. Plot, for me, seems to come later, after I know what my characters want, and what they're willing to sacrifice to get it.

Aryn Kyle's Favorite Coming-of-Age Novels


Housekeeping
That Night
Thumbsucker
Ghostworld
Atonement
See all 10 of Aryn Kyle's favorite coming-of-age novels (with commentary)

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:57 -0400)

Based on the author's National Magazine Award for Fiction-winning short story titled "The Foaling Season," the tale of rancher's daughter Alice Winston finds her helping to support the family business by boarding the horses of rich neighbors and leaving behind the innocence of her youth. A first novel. Reprint. 125,000 first printing.… (more)

» see all 4 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.75)
0.5 1
1 5
1.5 1
2 15
2.5 6
3 63
3.5 18
4 107
4.5 16
5 52

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 135,598,913 books! | Top bar: Always visible