…a middle reader adventure novel in progress. In the past, there was more readership for novels featuring speaking animal characters. Today, not so much. As I look back, some of my favorite books were Mrs. Frisby and The Rats of Nihm by Robert C. O’Brien, Bambi by Felix Salten, and Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. I know, old school.
Newer novels with speaking animals are many times cast into the Animal Fantasy genre. Some of my newer favs are the Redwall series by Brian Jacques, and Firebringer by David Clement Davies. But “The Feral Heart” is not exactly fantasy. The animals do not do anything that real animals would not do, except speak. They only speak to each other, by the way. Not to the humans. And they sometimes have trouble understanding human speech, and must consult each other for translations.
So what’s going on in “The Feral Heart”? The story follows Micah, a headstrong White Shepherd, on his sometimes ill-fated quest to find true freedom. His journey takes him from the haute couture of dogdom to the gutters of cur-ville, with all manner of humankind reigning over him. From one of the middle chapters:
Micah began to tremble, feeling the man’s sour mood mounting to anger. What punishment could he expect now? He wondered too about Chronos’ suggestion – to show himself a steady good dog, not prone to running wild. How was it that such dichotomy existed in the life of a dog? On one paw, a dog yearns to be free, running with the wind like a wolf. On the other, he must stay put and play follow the leader with the two-leggeds. What great life has any dog lived? He is either dragged around and commanded, or chased and scorned.
Check back for more tidbits…