Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Giraffe by J M Ledgard (27/81)

Category: Themed Titles – Animals

This is a fictional retelling of a real life incident. In Czechoslovakia, under communist rule in the 1970s, the largest ever group of giraffes were brought from Africa to be breed in captivity. Like many things in that time and place, this was a tool for propaganda, but something goes wrong, leading to a horrific outcome. I’m trying to avoid too much of a spoiler here, but to be honest the blurb for the book gives it away.

However, knowing how things end does not spoil the reading of this great book. How the story is told is a wonderful journey in itself. The story is split between different narrators, including a scientist (an expert in blood flow), a sleep-walker, a hunter and best of all, a giraffe. Their differing perspectives, especially as it moves towards its awful conclusion, add to the texture of the novel.

The book also has some brilliant descriptions of giraffes and interesting musings on man’s relationships with animals. Added to this, the looming presence of the communist regime make “Giraffe” a fascinating read, and all the more interesting for being based on real events.

And despite the illustration of a giraffe on the cover, this is far from being a children’s book.

1 comment:

Cindy B said...

That sounds like an interesting read. I will have to look for it.