Books told from an animal's perspective
Join LibraryThing to post.
This topic is currently marked as "dormant"—the last message is more than 90 days old. You can revive it by posting a reply.
I'm currently reading The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein and I'm really enjoying it. I know of a few other adult novels that are told from an animal's perspective: Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann and Dog On It by Spencer Quinn (I haven't read either of them).
Do any of you know of any others that are told from the perspective of an animal - novels that you liked?
Isn't The Story of Edgar Sawtelle told from a dog's pov? I haven't read it yet, but it's on my 2010 reading plan. I've heard mostly good things about it.
Also: Richard Adams' books, Watership Down, told from the rabbits' POV and The Plague Dogs, told from the dogs' POV. Watership Down is a classic, I loved it 30 some years ago. I wasn't as fond of The Plague Dogs.
Edgar Sawtelle has some portions with the dog's perspective but not all the book. A lovely read though.
What about Call of the Wild for the viewpoint of Buck?
Why are there no books about cats point of view? Or would it be too simple:
"Feed me, adore me, leave me alone. The end."
LOL! Amy . . . I was wondering if anyone would come up with books from a cat's point of view, too.
"Feed me, adore me, leave me alone. The end." Hilarious!
Wow, you guys came up with a lot of books. I forgot about the Richard Adams books. I have been afraid to read Watership Down. Don't the rabbits get killed?
Geez, I didn't know that Black Beauty was from the perspective of the horse. I really didn't read the right books when I was young. The classics completely escaped me.
Thank you for so many ideas.
So, CAN anyone come up with a book written from a cat's perspective?
There are all those cat-detective stories, aren't there? Lilian Jackson Braun, Rita Mae Brown, and so on. Are any of those written from the cat's POV?
Watership Down does have a lot of death and destruction in it. I remember Shardik being rather gruelling too.
Tagmashing "animals,fiction,-children's" I came across Virginia Woolf's Flush - a biography from the dog's POV. Obviously even the greatest writers get tempted to write animal stories on occasion...
#9>> Shardik, though, isn't told from the bear's POV. (It's told from the POV of Kelderek, the simple-minded hunter who pursues Shardik, believes in him, loses his faith, etc.) Personally, I think Shardik is Adams' best book, narrowly topping Watership Down.
Among other Adams works, Traveller is told from the POV of Robert E. Lee's horse. (I didn't care for it at all.)
Mémoires d'un âne (Memoirs of a donkey) by comtesse de Ségur is a classic of French children's literature. It is a first-person narrative of a donkey's life, from his unhappy youth as a beast of burden to wealthy but heartless Norman farmers, to his serene older days as companion to the numerous children of a kind aristocratic family. The tone is sometimes a bit preachy, for the book was written in 1860, and the comtesse was all the starker a Catholic that she was a convert from Orthodox faith (her father was the count Rostopchin mentioned by Tolstoy in "War and Peace"). Moreover, I've read that her son Gaston (a bishop) rewrote some rather un-Christian episodes (the story deals a lot with vengeance). Yet the book is largely humorous, for Cadichon is a bright, resourceful and self-righteous donkey, largely devoid of the humility usually attached to his kind. There are also a few cruel passages that wouldn't appear today in a book for children, and an excellent Gothic episode. The whole has a wonderfully rustic Norman flavour about it, and the style is exquisite (especially from someone whose mother tongue wasn't French). The countess made me familiar with some of the toughest conjugations of our notorious French verbs and contributed to making conjugation manuals useless to me at school.
I'm not quite sure this book is commonly read by children nowadays, but it still was in the 1980s. I believe no French author ever wrote better or tastier descriptions of picnics than the comtesse's.
Did anyone mention the Brian Jacques books? THose are all animal perspectives I think, and YA titles.
Tailchaser's Song by Tad Williams is a fantasy novel told from the POV of a cat.
Duncton Wood by William Horwood also rings a bell with me, and according to its Wikipedia article Horwood seems to have turned it into a series. I recall reading the first book, Duncton Wood, when it came out in 1980 or shortly thereafter and I don't have much recollection of it. I think I've got it in a box somewhere, and I may give it a re-read one of these days.
ETA: Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention. It's about moles.
The Silent Sky: The Incredible Extinction of the Passenger Pigeon by Allan W. Eckert
A biography of a passenger pigeon, that tells the story of the extintion of the breed. Told from the point of view of the pigeon
Fur Person by May Sarton is written from the cat's POV as I recall.
The cat who... books are not written from the cat's perspective but the Mrs. Murphy series by Rita Mae Brown are.
Jennie by Paul Gallico is told by a cat. In fact, Paul Gallico has written a few books on cats from their perspective - Silent Miaow and Honorable Cat are the ones I know off the top of my head. The only novel of those is Jennie; Silent Miaow is 'non-fiction', if you will, and Honorable Cat is mostly poetry.
There are way more books with an animal narrator that don't really describe animal behavior or thinking, eg Animal Farm, or with an animal as a protagonist but written in third person, eg Tale of Despereaux. The bulk of my favorite animal stories are in these categories.
Cute comment - "Silent Miaow is 'non-fiction', if you will" LOL!
I just looked at your profile.
You're a newbie - and you live in Michigan.
Hello from Librarything and Hello from Michigan!
Thank you for all of the ideas, everyone. I'm almost finished with The Art of Racing in the Rain and am loving the dog, Enzo, more and more with each page.
I love animals!
I know it's for younger teens but the Warriors Series by Erin Hunter is really one of the best i've read, because it describes them as a community and it's just a wonderfully painted picture in your head.
The Art of Racing in the Rain is Amazing by Garth Stein is one of the best books out there right now.
Seaton's books were from the animal's perspective, but I cannot recall the person, maybe it was the third-person and I suspect you want first- . . .
Re "Feed me, adore me, leave me alone. The end."
I would say there are some such cats as there are some such people.
Most cats are separated from their families when still young -- some so young they should be compared to feral children -- few get to live together with generations and exhibit the full range of sociability normal to cats. I have met cats I had to be teach the basics of meowese.
This is not to say there is not a broad range of normal behavior, just that our ideas of "the cat" are warped because of our treatment of them.
Firmin by Sam Savage is told from a rat's point of view. It was o.k.
The Book of Chameleons by Jose Eduardo Agualusa is told from the point of view of a gecko. Sort of, anyway. And it's an interesting read!
Liz T, i am not buying and reading books this year but have been so amazed at the complex battle tactics used by gecko and their resemblance to cats when they face-off, and try to look big and move diagonally and make lots of noise, and may suddenly jump or flee only to whirl-about, etc . . that I added a page to describe two particularly interesting gecko I came to know in a recent bk on cats I wrote and am very curious to know more about The Book of Chameleons. Is the sort of detail I mention re. the gecko in the book? Has Agualusa really observed these critters up close?
This 58-year-old also loves Erin Hunter's Seekers series about bears. I've re-read them several times and found this website in hopes of finding similar books written for folks more my age. I will check out the Art of Racing in the Rain.
But I still count the days to the release of the 5th book in the Seekers series (26) :)
It had some slow parts in the middle, but I thought it was better than OK. The first few chapters are good enough to make up for the feet-dragging later on.
#32 Oh, I loved Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. One of my favourite books.
>32 theexiledlibrarian: I remember NIMH and Bunnicula from my childhood. Excellent books! NIMH even made a pretty good animated film
#35 Really? I remember it being the dog. However, I've been known to forget a thing or two over the last 50 years. ;) Must go re-read it, lol.
There was actually an amazing book I read as a child called Just a Dog. It's about the life of a stray.
I'm evidently one of the few people who hates The Art of Racing in the Rain because the dog hates being a dog. There are things you can change about yourself and things you can't. If you hate your very being, then I don't think you make a very admirable main character, at least not unless you find a way to overcome that feeling.
Even though they are for kids, I love the Hank the Cowdog books by John Erickson and the whole James Howe series my favorite of which is Bunnicula.
My favorite mysteries told from the perspective of a cat are the Midnight Louie books written by Carole Nelson Douglas.
I know I'm way late jumping in on this, but Waiting for Gertrude is a story about the cats who live in a famous Paris cemetary....and they house the souls of some very famous people buried there. So,even though the narrator is a cat, she is also Alice B. Toklas.....
#44: Thank you! I will have to look into that book. It sounds right up my alley.
Rose in a Storm by Jon Katz is told mostly from the dog's perspective, but it wasn't an amazing story.
The Autobiography of Foudini M. Cat by Susan Fromberg Schaeffer
A tale told by a stray cat who is taken in by humans and struggles to figure out what the heck is going on. Easy, quick, fun read.
>18 cindysprocket: I find that kind of ironic that you would mention that. A person recently created a fan group for that book alone. I get all the feeds from new groups and that was one of them.
Didn't see this one and have to add it as it was amazing: A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron.
If you've ever spent any time with a dog, this is just a fabulous book to read. I believe they are going to make it into a movie as well. It was funny and touching, sad and yet uplifting - following the several lives of this one dog who learns a little each time around. I don't really believe in reincarnation but that wasn't a problem. The dog who narrates is wonderful.
There's also Bad to the Bone by Bo Hoefinger. Very enjoyable and humorous.
I've very much enjoyed all 3 of the Spencer Quinn Chet & Bernie books now, the first of which at least was mentioned in the opening of this thread - which is what brought me here. Dog on It, Thereby Hangs a Tail, and To Fetch a Thief.
I think I've been pegged as an animal book lover...at least half of the Early Reviewer books I get are about dogs or cats. :)
A few more stories told by animals is Tooth and Claw (H fantasy) and Skin and Bone (proper link won't load for this one). Both are by Stephen Moore. I have read the first one, and it is very sad, but a beautiful story. I am currently waiting for the second one to come in the mail so I can read that one too.
I came along this chat because I was trying to find the title of these two books through google, not having any luck. I had written in heaps of different questions to try and find it, because putting in Tooth and Claw was coming up with different copies and not the book I was after. Then finally I asked my sister and she gave me the author and the title and I was right. LOL.
Also on my travellings I had found another book which I suspect is an animal one too. It is also called Tooth and Claw but from what I read about it, it is like an old Victorian romance novel, but the human characters have been replaced with dragons. I am not 100% sure on this, but if anyone has heard anything about it and can confirm this, because I would love to read it if it is about dragons.
Hopefully I have given some good suggestions for people to look up in the future. :)
First of all, I'm Dutch, so I'm sorry if my English is not perfect.
In Holland most students have to write a large paper in the year of their final exams, called a 'profielwerkstuk'.
My paper will probably go about English books written from animal's perspective to raise attention for animal cruelty.
An example of such a book is 'Black Beauty' by Anne Sewell.
I'm wondering if you know more of such books, which I can use to make my paper.
If you know any, please post the name and author here.
Thanks in advance!
Just out a couple months now (at least in the US): Albert of Adelaide, about a platypus and the other animals -- dingoes, kangaroos, a wombat, a Tasmanian devil, and others -- he meets after escaping from a zoo and traveling into the outback to find the "real" Australia.
Right after I saw your post, audible sent a promo email out to me with these books, all about animals. I don't know if any of them match your criteria, but I thought of you and as it's only 10 books you should be able to look up fairly quickly a summary of each to see if you should read it for your final paper.
A Dog's Journey by W. Bruce Cameron
Little Boy Blue: A Puppy's Rescue from Death Row and His Owner's Journey for Truth
Dog On It (I doubt this one is for you)
A Big Little Life
The Dog Who Danced
Leader of the Pack
Let us know how it goes!
Some of the best animal novels that are unheard of but really kicks ass:
A Hive for the Honeybee, Soinbhe Lally
Child of the Deadwood, Vincent Dublado
Top Dog, Jerry Jay Carroll
The White Fox, Brian Parvin
Silverwing Series, Kenneth Opel
Well, this isn't published yet...but I am in rewrites for my animal novel, which I expect to be published by mid 2013. It's called Shadow Rabbit, and the protagonist is a rabbit with supernatural abilities that stem from a curse she is under. She must use her abilities to stop an undead horror accidentally unleashed by humans. The book takes place both in our world and in different mystic realms. It is written for adults. It is a dark fantasy with occasional horror elements.
I have some links. :)
BTW this thread is great! There are several novels I had not heard of before! Thanks!
I listened to a couple of the Spencer Quinn series, and the reader for those books is wonderful. Chet, the dog, seems to think just like I imagine my dogs thinking.
I recently finished Love Saves the Day by Gwen Cooper. Part of it is told from the cat's perspective, and I didn't enjoy that. It was just too cute, tried too hard to be clever, for my taste. There were parts of it that I enjoyed though -- just not the first-cat narrative.
I like some stories told from an animal's perspective, but it can be tricky to do well.
Rabbit Hill was one of my favorites as a child. I loved it then and I don't want to read it as an adult and be critical of it, so I am choosing not to re-read it and continue to love it.
#62: The chapters told from the cat's point of view in Love Saves the Day were my favorite. It took me much longer to get through the other chapters.
I found a used copy, judylou, and have ordered it from a store in Great Britain.
I'll let you know.
It was also a really good movie too. You might like to have a look at it AFTER you have read the book.
I might just do that, judylou.
As the book is being shipped from the other side of the Atlantic, I don't expect to see it for at least 2-3 weeks.
I am currently reading The Dalai Lama's Cat by Robert Michie. A story of peace told by a cat - lovely!
i don't think so.
But theres this great series of series and its main name is called Warriors. its from lots of different cats perspetives.
Bjace, I didn't, because I was thinking more of the animal telling the story in the first person: "And then my food dish was filled, and I was happy". :)
I've recently read Dog About Town by J F Englert and liked it enough to have purchased the next in the series. This dog reads and thinks and is the narrator of the book, but to his owner he looks like any other Labrador Retriever. The author is very clever in how he has the dog communicate clues so his owner can solve mysteries.
The last page of Dog On It by Spencer Quinn made me want to send the SPCA to the author's house to check if he's as irresponsible a dog owner as he shows Chet's owner to be. Won't read any more of that series.
fuzzi, If I hadn't thrown my copy in the recycling bin, I'd find it and quote the remark that annoyed me. If you look at the last page and think about all the hard work rescue groups do to try to teach dog owners how to be responsible, I think you will figure it out.
I just finished Ten Thousand Heavens by Chuck Rosenthal. It's told mostly from the horse's perspective, but not in first person. Excellent story!
Hi I'm new on here, I saw that no one had mentioned Blitzcat by Robert Westall, its great and from a cats perspective. Also I love Jack London Call of the Wild.
Horse Heaven by Jane Smiley has various POV, some human, some horse, one Jack Russell. She doesn't humanize the animals. I loved it.
Jasper by Michelle Groce. Jasper is a neighborhood stray cat who resolves situations!
Ratha's Creature first in a series by Clare Bell. Fantasy about an intelligent cat-like being.
I have always liked both Blitzcat and Plague Dogs a lot.
Listen to recorded books in the Hank the Cowdog series. They are read by the author John Erickson.
Hysterical fun for all ages!
Here are some I know
The Dogs of the Drowned City series is about a German Shepherd
The Warriors series is from different feral cats points of view in four different clans
Felidae is... umm... not very appropriate for kids
The cats of Roxville station
The Seekers series is about bears
Watership Down I've never read, but from what I have heard it's about rabbits
The saga of Rex I think is about a fox
Wolves of the Beyond is about... well... wolves
Well there are more I just can't seem to remember but ya
I just bought The Sage of Waterloo by Leona Francombe, largely based on the Laline Paull's NYTimes book review. The battle of Waterloo as narrated by a rabbit — it's being compared with Watership Down, though I wonder if the comparison wouldn't be more appropriately to Adams's Traveller. The Sage of Waterloo looks to be a fairly quick read and I've got it in TBR for some time in the next few weeks.
fuzzi is right. Rabbit Hill will not disapppoint you as an adult!
Nop's Trials by Donald McCaig. Nop is a border collie.
Rikki-Tikki-Tavi Rudyard Kipling. Classic adventure! Rikki is a mongoose in India.
And notable kids' books, with appeal for adults too -
Sheep by Valerie Hobbs. About a sheep dog
Pigs Might Fly
Babe the Gallant Pig read if you liked Charlotte's Web!
Ace, The Very Important Pig
These last 4 by Dick King-Smith, all very funny; great read-alouds.
Quentin Corn Classic by Mary Stolz
I would add Sweet William by John Hawkes to the list, a picaresque, unromantic tale told from the perspective of the titular horse.
I've recently read The Bees by Laline Paull.
The story of one bee's life and adventures in her own words.
She doesn't do anything outlandish - she just does what bees do and endures what bees have to endure.
The writing draws you completely into her world.
At times it's terrifying, at others heart breaking.
Such a compelling read.
For nonfiction about bees, I thought The Beekeeper's Lament was excellent. I'm glad I am not a bee. Nor, for that matter, a beekeeper.
I know this post is several years old but I happened to be googleing that same question when I came across your post. I just finished reading Chinese Whiskers by Pallavi Aiyar, which is from two cat's perspectives, and it is awesome! Though if you were still looking or for someone who comes across this thread looking for the same thing, definitely read Chinese Whiskers. It does not disappoint! And you learn a little Chinese too!
I am actually LOOKING for a book told from a horse's perspective... I LOVED it as a teen in Manitoba, Canada, and can't remember the name. I believe it was titled the name of the horse (one word) - the horse was born on a farm, talks about his mother, and then is sold and goes to the Calgary Stampede... and all the adventures in between... and eventually comes back home I believe... it's been 30+yrs but i would LOVE to read the book again. Anyone have any idea what book that is? I've been websearching for 2 yrs and still haven't found it and figured, perhaps someone here can help? :D
>101 vivienbrenda: How did it take so long to mention this one?
Waiting for Gertrude: A Graveyard Gothic is a good one. It's better if you know a bit about the famous people who are buried in Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, since the cats in the story are all reincarnations of some of these people.
The Golden Ass... From the perspective of a human that wanted to do a bird transformation.. As a newbie at spells, he goofed and ended up a Donkey.. I still count it as a memorable story told from the donkeys point of view, as a privileged youth of the upper class.. He witnesses and endures a long journey as a equine and a shocking amount of animal abuse.. Made me sad for him.. Some of it quite lewd.. but is expected from a book written in Roman times
>106 Titusthemule: thanks for the recommendation. I plan to check it out.
>106 Titusthemule: Hmm, 293 pages and it’s only available through my library system on paper. Now I have to decide if I’m up to the task.
>109 marell: a cozy mystery series featuring Beatrice Potter. That sounds lovely.
It is a lovely series. Historically authentic and recipes of some of the dishes in the story.
Citizenjoyce... The 300 pages of the Golden Ass is padded with a lot of unrelated side stories that I personally believe were tacked on by later scholars to preserve old Roman lore from being lost.. Added under the excuse that these were things the poor creature overheard his owners telling each other.. If you're not a Shakespeare level reader, like me, the stories more enjoyable if you just skip to the donkey parts.. Which I adored.
This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.