Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources for giving me a spot on this fantastic blog tour!
Genre: Humorous Fiction
Publisher: Eye/Lightning Books
Publication date: March 2, 2020
(For a limited time, We Are Animals is available for only 99p.)
A cow looks out to sea, dreaming of a life that involves grass.
Jan is also looking out to sea. He’s in Goa, dreaming of the passport-thief who stole his heart (and, indeed, his passport) forty-six years ago. Back then, fate kept bringing them together, but lately it seems to have given up.
Jan has not. In his long search he has accidentally held a whole town at imaginary gunpoint in Soviet Russia, stalked the proprietors of an international illegal lamp-trafficking scam and done his very best to avoid any kind of work involving the packing of fish. Now he thinks if he just waits, if he just does nothing at all, maybe fate will find it easier to reunite them.
His story spans fifty-four years, ten countries, two imperfect criminals (and one rather perfect one), twenty-two different animals and an annoying teenager who just…
But maybe an annoying teenager is exactly what Jan needs to help him find the missing thief?
Featuring a menagerie of creatures, each with its own story to tell, We Are Animals is a quirky, heart-warming tale of lost love, unlikely friendships and the certainty of fate (or lack thereof).
For the first time in her life the cow noticed the sun setting, and it was glorious.
I jumped at the chance to read this book because it was set in India–my home country. I was so happy to see that much of the action takes place at Palolem beach, Goa, one of my favorite beaches.
Essentially, this is a story of love, loss, and longing. “ManJan” travels the world with a feisty “LadyJan,” and they forge many friendships on the way. In a bizarre twist of fate, ManJan rediscovers each of these friendships as he revisits all the places he had gone with LadyJan. Only this time, he is looking for her and hoping that fate throws them together again.
I’m not sure how to go about describing the book because I’ve never read something like this before. The author writes in a most unconventional manner. He finds humor in the tiniest details, such as a cockroach constantly turning to its right, banging its head on the “same bit of boat” and wondering why it can’t escape.
At first, it seemed to me that the story was just absurd. But then it proceeded to become a most tender and endearing tale about friendship, love, and heartbreak. The pace is leisurely, and this may be a bit of a challenge if you’re looking for something to happen quickly. In the latter half of the book, you begin to see the connections between the seemingly isolated events happening in each chapter.
I loved the fact that there’s some commentary on homosexuality quietly tucked into the story.
Each chapter features a different creature. You read about a cow’s predilection to look at sunsets, crabs rolling sand balls (because that’s just what they do!), cockroaches taking wrong turns and getting confused, quails losing their precious eggs, and so on. The stories of the creatures have a sort of parallel to the happenings in the chapter.
The passion of youth (Shakey) and the fatigue of old age (Manjan) is well-contrasted. Manjan’s journey from “a poxy vest” to “a mustache” forms the basis of the story.
I particularly enjoyed the hilarious portrayal of things that are uniquely Indian, such as bathing in the filthy Ganges river, the holy status of the cow (until it is too old to be maintained), the “spiritual” aura of Goa’s beaches, and adults bathing in the ocean fully clothed.
We Are Animals is a sparkling debut by Tim Ewins laced with wit and humor and features some marvelous storytelling!
About the Author
Tim Ewins has enjoyed an eight-year stand-up career alongside his accidental career in finance.
He has previously written for DNA Mumbai, had two short stories highly commended and published in Michael Terence Short Story Anthologies, and enjoyed a very brief acting stint (he’s in the film Bronson, somewhere in the background).
He lives with his wife, son and dog in Bristol. We Are Animals is his first novel.
You can find more exciting reviews of We Are Animals at:
Lightning Bolts launches as digital-first imprint
Lightning Books, the fiction arm of independent publisher Eye Books, has unveiled a digital-only
imprint. Its new series of Lighting ‘Bolts’ will be launched as initially as ebooks only, with print
editions to follow for titles that sell particularly well.
The series kicks off on 6 March with We Are Animals, a quirky, heart-warming tale of friendship
and lost love, set in Goa, by stand-up comic turned writer Tim Ewins.
Following at two-week intervals throughout the spring are:
• All the Beautiful Liars, a semi-autobiographical journey into her Austrian past by Australian
writer Sylvia Petter;
• iRemember, a sci-fi noir with a psychedelic twist by writer and filmmaker SV Bekvalac;
• Landsliding, a dark domestic drama by Mandy Jameson, which was originally successfully
self-published and is now re-edited and repackaged by Lightning;
• and Marrow Jam, a cosy crime caper by Susan A King, shortlisted for the Write Here, Right
Now novel competition at the Bradford Literature Festival.
Publisher Dan Hiscocks says: ‘We want to continue to bring exciting new voices to the market, but
the changing conditions and levels of support by both media and retail mean that it is not always
possible to publish their work traditionally.
‘Under this new imprint, we will launch some authors in digital form first, where the barriers to
market are lower, to allow them to get a following. Once they do so, we hope that will persuade
retailers to support the same novels in traditional print format.
‘The initiative also allows us to be more agile and launch books much more quickly than
traditional critical paths allow, which appeals to many of our authors.’