Synopses & Reviews
In this imaginative debut, the tale of Noah’s Ark is brilliantly recast as a story of fate and family, set in a near-future London.
Over the course of a single night in 2052, a homeless man named Cuthbert Handley sets out on an astonishing quest: to release the animals of the London Zoo. When he was a young boy, Cuthbert’s grandmother had told him he inherited a magical ability to communicate with the animal world—a gift she called the Wonderments. Ever since his older brother’s death in childhood, Cuthbert has heard voices. These maddening whispers must be the Wonderments, he believes, and recently they have promised to reunite him with his lost brother and bring about the coming of a Lord of Animals . . . if he fulfills this curious request.
Cuthbert flickers in and out of awareness throughout his desperate pursuit. But his grand plan is not the only thing that threatens to disturb the collective unease of the city. Around him is greater turmoil, as the rest of the world anxiously anticipates the rise of a suicide cult set on destroying the world’s animals along with themselves.
Meanwhile, Cuthbert doggedly roams the zoo, cutting open the enclosures, while pressing the animals for information about his brother. Just as this unlikely yet loveable hero begins to release the animals, the cult’s members flood the city’s streets. Has Cuthbert succeeded in harnessing the power of the Wonderments, or has he only added to the chaos—and sealed these innocent animals’ fates?
Night of the Animals is an enchanting and inventive tale that explores the boundaries of reality, the ghosts of love and trauma, and the power of redemption.
“Bill Broun’s Night of the Animals is troubling in all the right ways: a vividly imagined dystopia and an ecological parable that seems all too possible and all too real. It’s compulsively readable-a novel that earns your close attention, from beginning to end.” Jess Row, author of Your Face in Mine
“[A] dark and magical futuristic rendering of the story of the Ark... with a glittering varnish of myth and invention. The result is a novel of startling originality; it is important, mesmerizing and touching.” Jim Crace, author of Quarantine and The Harvest
“Night of The Animals is the most beautiful, strange new novel I have read in years, and its obese, mentally ill, elderly protagonist is among the most engaging of heroes. The existence of this book in the present moment is a wonderment.” Mary Gaitskill
About the Author
Bill Broun has worked as a newspaper and magazine journalist in both the US and the UK. He was appointed a resident fellow at Yale University in 2002, where he lectured in English and journalism, and currently serves as Associate Professor of English at East Stroudsburg University. Born in Los Angeles to an English father and an American mother, he now lives in Hellertown, Pennsylvania.
Bill Broun on PowellsBooks.Blog
I walk the night. It’s a place of wonder and moonshine and animal eyeshine. When I’m out there in it, in a world rippling with headlight beams and glittering lawns swept by fogs of pure noir, there’s a mighty feeling. Planes of obsidian seem to take off in all directions, and walking is like inhabiting the dark, shimmering laws of physics itself...