10 books for adults with animal narrators

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As a dog owner and animal lover, I always wondered what my dog ​​or the animals around us had to say. Would they have great ideas to share about the world? Maybe something like slow down and enjoy the world? Or would it just be a litany of feed me, feed me, feed me? The realm of animal consciousness has exploded as previous paradigms of what it means to be human are dissolved and we discover that various species can do impressive things, from using tools to recognizing themselves in a mirror – for n’ to name a few.

In literature, there are books, perhaps children’s books or young adult books, that imagine the world from an animal’s point of view. Many classic children’s books feature animals, like Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad series or any book by Richard Scarry. But there are also adult books written from the point of view of animals, which excites me. And it’s not just books from the point of view of cats and dogs – although I absolutely agree with these books – there are books about various animals, from polar bears to bees. These storytellers can enlighten humanity in ways that a human storyteller cannot. Some of these books show animal storytellers living human lives while others focus on the animal world.

Here are 10 of the best such books that feature animal storytellers.

A Dog’s Life by Peter Mayle

Although best known for his non-fiction work A Year in Provence, Mayle wrote a delightful comedy in the eyes of a dog named Boy. Although he doesn’t know much about his pedigree, this erudite dog explores his native Provence, from its food and alluring treasures to its enemies. With his perceptive eye, he contemplates the follies and weaknesses of humanity.

memoir of a polar bear blanket

Memoirs of a Polar Bear by Yoko Tawada, translated by Susan Bernofsky

While memoirs of human celebrities are all the rage, this one takes a different twist by focusing on polar bears. Told in three parts, it begins with Grandmother Polar Bear, a famous writer, who emigrated from the Soviet Union to Canada, her daughter Tosca who joins the circus, and her grandson Knut at the Berlin Zoo. Tawada said she was inspired by a real polar bear of the same name at the same zoo.

Blanket of the Hollow Kingdom

Kira Jane Buxton’s Hollow Kingdom

Can anyone save the world by watching TV? ST, a crow owned by Big Jim, may have to. Something is wrong with its owner – its eye is out – but nothing seems to help. He learns from his friends that there is something wrong with the human world, so ST must try to fix things. Armed with his knowledge of TV shows and a wry view of the world, ST faces the apocalypse while earning quite a few laughs from readers. There are two books in the series so far.

I am a cat cover

I Am a Cat (I am a Cat #1-3) by Natsume Sōseki, translated by Aiko Ito, translated by Graeme Wilson

Finally, we have a book about cats! As we have seen with A dog’s life, animal storytellers provided an excellent means of analyzing and critiquing human society. Sōseki effectively does this through the eyes of a cat who can point out the contradictions of human society in Meiji era Japan. It’s perfect for people who want the cat’s eye perspective and/or who want to read early 20th century Japanese literature.

The book of chameleons cover

The Book of Chameleons by José Eduardo Agualusa, Daniel Hahn (translator)

We had birds, dogs, cats and other notable mammals. Now is the time for a reptile. This is told through the eyes of a lizard that lives on the wall of Felix Ventura right after Angola gained independence from Portugal. While the fires are still burning politically, some people want to revise their past, given the political uncertainty of the times. All of this is told through the eyes of a lizard.

The bees cover

Bees by Laline Paull

As a fan of bees, I was thrilled to experience this artwork from the perspective of Flora 717, a sanitation bee in a hive. Flora 717 discovers that she is not like her sisters and must hide her qualities under penalty of death. She steadily rose through the ranks from the nursery, became a forager and even secured a position at the Queen’s court. Can she survive in the midst of hostile agents who want to eliminate her? Where can she find a place to live her life to the fullest?

Blanket Me Cheeta

Me Cheeta: My Life in Hollywood by James Lever

As Memoirs of a Polar Bear, Me Cheeta is another take on the celebrity tell-all memoir. This particular animal memoir is told from the perspective of Cheeta, voted the world’s funniest animal. Cheeta, who survived his Tarzan co-stars, details his life from his youth in the jungles of Liberia to his time in Hollywood and his retirement. In addition to writing his memoirs, he is now an abstract painter. It’s a fun read to see the world of one of our closest ancestors as well as a look at old Hollywood.

Blanket of Bright White Peaks

Brilliant White Peaks by Teng Rong

If you want something more raw, this is the book for you. It features two wolf siblings who must fight their way through the wilderness. The story explores the glory and cruelty of the natural world as the two siblings attempt to find their parents. Perfect for wolf lovers everywhere.

Nezumi's Children cover

Nezumi’s Children by TL Bodine

Finally, here’s one that focuses on rats in a pet store. When their prophet Nezumi passes by, she tells them to beware of the Great Water. Soon his prophecies come true with water everywhere. Can rats survive this catastrophe? How will this impact their view of the world?

Three Bags Full Coverage

Three full bags by Léonie Swann, translated by Anthea Bell

The end of the list is a murder mystery…from the perspective of a flock of sheep. One day, the sheep discover their dead shepherd from a spade. These sheep aren’t going to put up with that when they lay down. A team of sheep including Miss Maple, the clever sheep, and Zora, the thinking sheep, come together to find clues to dig up the killer. It’s a fresh take on the mystery genre; I can only hope we get more mysteries from non-human perspectives.

For people who want non-fiction books, this list is for you! Here’s a list for people who want more adult animal books!

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