Night of the Animals
NAMED BEST NOVEL OF 2016
in Slate.com and Vox.com
“A story as wildly moving and singular as an animal’s eyes in the dark.”
- New York Times
“Night of the Animals is by turns visionary, ironic, satirical and deeply remorseful. The felled woodlands, the erased species, a new Great Extinction--all happen within one long lifetime. It’s a rich addition to the literature of lament, viewed with sympathy and longing.”
- Wall Street Journal
“In prose that employs a variety of British dialects, Broun composes a story that’s engaging not only for its strange plot, but for its inventive use of language, too.”
- Huffington Post, 22 Summer Books You Won't Want to Miss
“[T]his story…lingers long after the final page.”
- Houston Chronicle
“[A] wildly imagined futuristic dystopia (or is it?)”
- New York magazine, Approval Matrix (Highbrow/Brilliant)
“Heartfelt and original.”
- Chicago Tribune
- Washington Post
“A wonderful doorstop of a book…Broun packs his novel with futuristic invention, Chablis-dry humor and a thick, dreamy nostalgia…a story as wildly moving and singular as an animal’s eyes in the dark.”
- The New York Times Book Review
"Strange, witty, and engrossing ..." *Starred, boxed review — Publishers Weekly
“Highly recommended, original tour de force ...” *Starred review — Library Journal
"An impressive, richly imagined, deeply urgent story." * Starred review — Kirkus Reviews
“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
“[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
"In vivid prose that breathes and trembles like a living thing, Bill Broun brings into being a future that is just fantastical enough to tell the truth. Night of the Animals will captivate you, surprise you, and remind you of the strange, precarious thing it is to be human."
— Alexandra Kleeman, author of You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine
GRIPPING. POETIC. SCARY. In the year 2052, all animal life on earth is threatened. But as a newly empowered king rules Britain with a brutal tyranny, an improbable hero rises from the streets of London.
Over the course of a single night, a homeless man named Cuthbert Handley sets out on an astonishing quest: to release the animals of the London Zoo. As 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 . . . if he fulfills this curious request.
Cuthbert flickers in and out of awareness over the course of 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, all the 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.