The Animals

The Animals

Mysterious Book Report No. 225

by John Dwaine McKenna

Have you ever experienced poverty?  Not the sort where you bounced a check once, but chronic poverty—the type that is constant, relentless and crushing—the kind that destroys self respect, hope and confidence?  It’s a condition capable of wrecking relationships and driving some persons to acts of desperation and outright stupidity . . . and it’s one of the foundational themes of The Animals, (W.W. Norton & Company, $25.95, 309 pages, ISBN 978-0-87140-883-9) by Christian Kiefer, a musician, poet and writing instructor in Sacramento, California.  Other themes are redemption, atonement, friendship, family, treachery, criminality, deceit and the bond between animal and mankind.  The story is told in a present  and past tense, with the protagonist—a man named Bill Reed, who runs a wild animal rescue and shelter in northern Idaho—telling the how and why and when he came to be hiding in a wildlife refuge and avoiding human contact.  Bill Reed is a man with a past . . . a man who’s trying to escape what he was and become the new, different and better man he thinks lives inside himself . . . but those long-ago actions had consequences that demand retribution.  And it’s coming to town at high speed now that his childhood friend Rick is out of prison and looking for a lot more than just a redress of his grievances.  He wants revenge and is determined to get it.  This one’s a page turner that will resonate with anyone who loves the wild places and the critters who live there.

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The Animals

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