Saturday, 1 August 2009

Are you talking to me?

A couple of days ago I picked up Garth Stein's The Art of Racing in the Rain. I've read the first few pages and, to be honest, am not that struck on it. It's told from the perspective of a dog and generally I'm a sucker for the talking or anthropomorphised animal.

So here's a list of seven of my favourites:

  • Stuart Little. I was about six or seven, and had started reading happily by myself, and there's this mouse, but he can speak, and drive a motorcycle, if memory serves correctly. (I think it may be the second book.) It took me a long time to separate fact from fiction.
  • Bagheera the panther, from Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book. Really, this cat's far too cool for school.
  • Fievel from Richard Adams' Watership Down gets the vote for freakiest bunny in a book
  • Pedlar from Garry Kilworth's House of Tribes. A mouse in a house, but not used to being so. (Around about the same time I read this in my teens, I also read a book in translation about a cat. I think it was a Turkish or Hungarian author, and it was good, and there was a sequel. I think the picture of the front was of a Russian Blue, but I can't remember the name of the book. A single word I think, probably the cat's name. Maybe beginning with G, or am I thinking of Grendel? Obviously it didn't make as much of an impression as the meeces.)
  • Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr Fox (I am looking forward with trepidation to the film version)
  • I'd probably choose a character from Orwell's Animal Farm too, but I was put off that by ten force-fed pages in school so have never read it. Sticking with the farmyard though, I'll take the easy, cheesy option and go with Charlotte the spider.
  • And of course to wrap up there's the one who can't talk, who really is a dog. Buck, from Jack London's Call of the Wild.
And in case you're wondering, Aesop's Fables don't count. They deal in stereotypes, not characters.


Tim Stretton said...

Does Winnie the Pooh count? They're animals, right?

The snake in Paradise Lost gets to speak in blank verse, which is pretty cool, but he's really Satan, so perhaps not really a talking animal...

Aliya Whiteley said...

Geoffrey the emerald penguin talks.

Tim Stretton said...

It was only a matter of time before penguins took to the stage...

"Please can I go back to the Antarctic?" ; - )

Neil said...

I might have misread the story, but wasn't Geoffrey imaginary? And Winnie the Pooh and company--just to continue the pedantic streak were stuffed toys. Satan does the job for me though, Tim.

Aliya Whiteley said...

But Bagheera and Stuart Little were 'real', were they? Geoffrey and Pooh were as real as them, you stickler!


Neil said...

Actually, I've visited Kipling's house at Bateman's where there's a first edition Jungle Book. The page after the title states 'The characters in this book are based on real historical figures and though some events have been altered for dramatical effect, this story is true true true.'

So ner.

Aliya Whiteley said...

Live and learn.