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Book Review

Book Cover



Authors: Various
Editors: Sarah Doyle and Allen Ashley
Publisher: Eibonvale Press
175 pages
RRP: £10.00
ISBN: 978 1 908125 81 1
Publication Date: 19 October 2018

Humanagerie (175 pages) is an anthology collection of poems and short stories, edited by Sarah Doyle and Allen Ashley. Oddly, for a book of this nature, there is no introduction explaining either the purpose of the book or how the submissions were chosen. There is a fairly comprehensive section for the writer’s biographies. The book contains forty-five pieces of prose or poetry, thirteen short stories and thirty-two poems.

As the name would suggest the book covers aspects of the interface between humanity and an animal menagerie. Not literally, there are often no actual animals present, except those aspects of ourselves which we always carry.

I am not at all sure I am best placed to give a critique on someone else’s poetry, my interest in the subject stopped around Plath and Larkin. That is not to say that I cannot appreciate a particular turn of phrase or clever use of imagery. Something which a lot of the poems have in common as does a lot of the prose.

The book opens with Paul Stephenson’s poem ‘Animal Apology’ which uses striking imagery and metaphor – lobbed elephants swirl… Zeppelins Deflating - bringing to life the often animalistic nature of a fight between couples. 

Any long time reader of Eibonvale’s published book will instantly recognise some of the regular writers. Surrealist author, Douglas Thompson contributes 'Ouroboros', a contemporary story about love eating itself.

All the pieces are fairly short, so you have the option to either read it as a whole, where you will enjoy the various tastes and flavours offered up by the authors. It is also ideal to just pick up and open at a random page.

Because of the wide range of material here, there is little point in covering every entry. The book contains enough variety that there is bound to be something here for everybody.


Charles Packer

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