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The God of Animals by Aryn Kyle

The God of Animals

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Sarah Broadhurst's view...

This is a powerful tale of a livery-stable family trying to make ends meet. Steeped in emotional trauma, equestrian detail, family love and commitment, small town prejudice and bags of incident, it’s a big story on a small canvas. One of those deep American, heart-rending tales that just keeps throwing drama at you in an understated quiet way which ends up hitting you in the stomach. I loved it.

Comparison: Nicholas Evans, Thomas Eidson, Leif Enger.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst


The God of Animals by Aryn Kyle

When her older sister runs away to elope, Alice Winston is left to bear the brunt of her family's troubles - a depressed, bed-ridden mother, a reticent, overworked father, and a rundown horse ranch. Faced with the hottest summer in fifteen years and a pile of bills, the Winstons are forced to board the pampered horses of rich neighbors, and Alice must confront the power and security that class and wealth provide. As the summer unfolds, her family and their well-being become intertwined with the lives of their clients Alice begins a dangerous friendship.

Drawn into an adult world of secrets, hard truths, and even harder consequences, Alice experiences her first kiss, her first beer, and her first infatuation. But when the rain comes and brings the summer to an end, Alice's choices lead to a devastating betrayal and a shocking, violent series of events that will forever change her family's world.


"Aryn Kyle's The God of Animals is a moving, beautifully crafted novel about families, horses, love, death, class in America, and serious weather. Narrated by a twelve-year-old girl, it contains a full adult measure of betrayal and desire and complex joy, and has a terrifying momentum by the end. It's a wonderful book." Maile Meloy, author of Liars and Saints and A Family

'[an] astonishingly assured debut...powerfully understated [and] ruefully funnny.' Vogue (USA)

"An atmospheric, intense debut." Glasgow Herald

" .. a first novel that's so strong, startling, and moving, that it's a thoroughbred from the first page." Caroline Leavitt, The Boston Globe

About the Author

Aryn Kyle

Aryn Kyle is 27 and lives in Grand Junction, Colorado.She has published stories in The Georgia Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, and BEST AMERICAN VOICES 2005, and, in 2005, she was awarded the Rona Jaffe Award. "Foaling Season", taken from the first chapter of this novel, was one of the three stories that won The Atlantic Monthly National Magazine Award for fiction in 2004.

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Book Info

Publication date

6th March 2008


Aryn Kyle

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Orion Publishing Co




Literary Fiction
Debuts of the Month
Family Drama
Literary Fiction
Reading Groups
eBook Favourites



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