Talking Animals

By (author): Joni Murphy

A fable for our times, Joni Murphy’s Talking Animals takes place in an all-animal world where creatures rather like us are forced to deal with an all-too-familiar landscape of soul-crushing jobs, polluted oceans, and a creeping sense of doom.

It’s New York City, nowish. Lemurs brew espresso. Birds tend bar. There are bears on Wall Street, and a billionaire racehorse is mayor. Sea creatures are viewed with fear and disgust and there’s chatter about building a wall to keep them out.

Alfonzo is a moody alpaca. His friend Mitchell is a sociable llama. They both work at City Hall, but their true passions are noise music and underground politics. Partly to meet girls, partly because the world might be ending, these lowly bureaucrats embark on an unlikely mission to expose the corrupt system that’s destroying the city from within. Their project takes them from the city’s bowels to its extremities, where they encounter the Sea Equality Revolutionary Front, who are either a group of dangerous radicals or an inspiring liberation movement.

In this novel, at last, nature kvetches and grieves, while talking animals offer us a kind of solace in the guise of dumb jokes. This is mass extinction as told by BoJack Horseman. This is The Fantastic Mr. Fox journeying through Kafka’s Amerika. This is dogs and cats, living together. Talking Animals is an urgent allegory about friendship, art, and the elemental struggle to change one’s life under the low ceiling of capitalism.


Joni Murphy

JONI MURPHY is a writer from New Mexico who lives in New York. Her debut novel Double Teenage was published by Book*hug Press in 2016. It was named one of The Globe and Mail’s 100 Best Books of the Year.


“Murphy has great fun animalizing the streets of N.Y.C. and writes beautiful paeans to the sea.” —Publishers Weekly

“The book has been billed as ‘Animal Farm for the Anthropocene,’ and indeed, Talking Animals is to disaster capitalism what that classic Orwell novel was to creeping totalitarianism.” —Slate

“A 21st-century combination of Animal Farm and Aesop’s Fables . . . Murphy packs a lot of issues—class, climate change immigration, vegetarianism, and more—into a familiar plot about malfeasance. She balances her poetic ruminations and dogmatic lecturing with a goofy relish for puns . . . Weird yet engrossing and hard to forget.” —Kirkus (starred)

“Murphy’s astute perceptions social, political, and emotional; ingenious inventiveness, fluid empathy, and mischievous wit coalesce in an irresistible fable of ringing impact.” Booklist

“This is Animal Farm but better and set now, about how capital renders the city unliveable and neo-liberalism is boiling the planet alive.” —Globe and Mail 


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304 Pages
8.00in * 5.25in * .75in


September 15, 2020


Book*hug Press



Book Subjects:

FICTION / Animals

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