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Book Review

Book Cover

Automatic Safe Dog


Author: Jet McDonald
Eibonvale Press
RRP: £9.99
ISBN: 978 1 908125 01 9
Available 01 March 2011

Telby Velour is a man on a mission, a mission to win the heart of Ravenski Helena Goldbird. Having lost her once through an unfortunate incident with a dog's broken back, Telby reinvents himself as a successful ideas man for a large company making animal furniture, the very same one where Ravenski works. Through a staggering level of incompetence he finds himself employed to come up with new products, but the executive world is not what he thought...

Automatic Safe Dog is a new novel by Jet McDonald. It is difficult to give a flavour of the book without comparison to other works. There are certainly surreal elements reminiscent of Brazil, as well absurdist set of coincidences and events which are as good as Tom Sharpe’s. However, McDonald has been able to find his own writing voice and a very funny one it is.

When Telby finally gets the job of his dreams, he quickly discovers that more than a few dreams end in nightmares. He discovers a world under threat as the Animal Liberationists threaten both the company he works for and its employees. Their beef is that the company does a good line in animal furniture, that is, turning the poor creatures into actual tables and sofas.

Whilst this product may seem a little monstrous, it is nothing to compare with the menagerie of characters which work there. Interactions between the executive staff are mediated through restaurants, where you are forced to dance whilst eating; sex is both a pleasure and a weapon between colleges, sex which the chairman of the board can witness, looking for incorrect underwear.

Telby, initially an oddball, fits right in, with his odd fits, his addiction to prescribed medication and chaotic lifestyle.

The first half of the book is played mostly for laughs, as the reader is introduced to this strange world. It is only when employees start to die and Telby accidentally discovers that parties are using the pipes to send Morse code messages that things start to turn dark, ultimately leading to a satisfying conclusion

Overall, the book is a splendid read and the best scatological narrative that I read in a while.


Charles Packer

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