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Extended Audio Sample The God of Animals: A Novel Audiobook, by Aryn Kyle Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (3,591 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Aryn Kyle Narrator: Lily Rabe Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2007 ISBN: 9780743561563
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When her older sister runs away to marry a rodeo cowboy, 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. As the hottest summer in fifteen years unfolds and bills pile up, Alice is torn between dreams of escaping the loneliness of her duty-filled life and a longing to help her father mend their family and the ranch.

To make ends meet, the Winstons board the pampered horses of rich neighbors, and for the first time Alice confronts the power and security that class and wealth provide. As her family and their well-being become intertwined with the lives of their clients, Alice is drawn into an adult world of secrets and hard truths, and soon discovers that people-including herself-can be cruel, can lie and cheat, and every once in a while, can do something heartbreaking and selfless. Ultimately, Alice and her family must weather a devastating betrayal and a shocking, violent series of events that will test their love and prove the power of forgiveness.

A wise and astonishing novel about the different guises of love and the often steep tolls found on the road to adulthood, The God of Animals is a haunting, unforgettable debut. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Aryn Kyle's stunning debut is a wry and moving look at a disappearing way of life…an astonishingly assured debut…powerfully understated, ruefully funny…it's early Annie Proulx to whom she bears particular comparison.”

    Vogue

  • “[A] first novel that's so strong, startling, and moving, that it's a thoroughbred from the first page…In stark, gorgeous prose, Kyle tunnels into the dark heart of the connections between people and place…The God of Animals does what the best fiction does—it creates a whole living, breathing world and unfolds it in front of us, granting us entry into a place that, like this author, is impossible to forget.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Aryn Kyle's talent astounded everyone. She takes a clichéd story—a lost girl approaching womanhood in a man's world—and develops it in unpredictable, emotionally thrilling ways.”

    Bookmarks

  • “[A] confident debut novel.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Lily Rabe portrays Alice Winston, the 12-year-old narrator of this unforgettable novel. With subtle attention to detail Rabe describes Alices life with her parents on a failing horse farm. Especially memorable is Rabes understated depiction of Alices bedridden, emotionally crippled mother. Rabe also provides a nuanced portrayal of Alices father, who is emotionally distant and willing to do anything for financial stability. The hopelessness of Alices situation is fully captured in Rabes delivery of her loneliness, her search for love with a male English teacher, and her horror as she watches the death of a promising colt. The narrators vocal range and skills produce an amazing performance.”

    AudioFile

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sally Maria | 2/12/2014

    " I started this book last night and read till 4:00 a.m. Any more questions? It's a good story and her writing is flawless. I understand why it's being compared to To Kill a Mockingbird....it is the voice of the young protagonist. She's so honest, it gets under your skin. A very good read! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ginger Stockdale | 2/9/2014

    " I have mixed reviews on this book. It was a really easy read and I finished very quickly. It is written well, but I really disliked most of the characters in this book--maybe that was the point? Not sure. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Annfred | 2/2/2014

    " This is a beautifully written coming-of-age novel. The characters were all believable. I felt I had met or could identify each one in my own life. I highly recommend it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bobby Manning | 2/2/2014

    " Favorite line from this book (from memory)... "There are no real secrets in life, only unspoken truths" "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joanne | 1/29/2014

    " I LOVED this book--the story was unforgettable. The main character, Alice, is a very wise and intelligent 12-year-old girl who is watching her world and the people in it engage in a slow, almost choreographed self-destruction. Her mother is alive but severely depressed, her sister ran away with a rodeo cowboy and her father and Alice are left to run the ranch in the midst of a severe drought. the characters--including several horses-- were vivid and unexpected, and not at all what you think they should be. And as the story unfolds, Alice begins to realize that nothing is what it seems, and that the people she relies on most aren't the people who are most reliable. And the people she doesn't think she can trust are the ones who come through in the end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jess | 1/27/2014

    " An impressive debut about a young girl learning about sex and violence and love on her family's horse farm. At its best when describing the animals; perhaps not surprisingly, things become murkier when people get involved. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brandy clark | 1/19/2014

    " yet another dull and depressing book I've read for my bookclub. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Louise Shappee | 1/19/2014

    " This book was excellent! The story involves a young girl growing up on a horse ranch in Colorado. Her mother is ill and unable to care for her, and her father is overwhelmed with the care of the ranch and the frustration of raising enough money to keep it up. The older sister has run away and eloped. The young narrator is terribly lonely. Sounds sad, and indeed, there are stunningly heartbreaking scenes. But the straighforward writing and desperate lives of the characters make this a compelling read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kk2v | 1/15/2014

    " I enjoyed reading this book, but in the end I wasn't sure why and it left me very unsatisfied. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Colleen Elftmann | 1/9/2014

    " very good book and very depressing "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mary Stetter | 12/15/2013

    " Thanks for the book, Juli. This is a very different coming of age novel. Great story, even if you don't love horses. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lucinda Stein | 12/14/2013

    " Intriguing story of a young girl, whose family is moving in all directions, but not together. Kyle's writing is rich and haunting. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jd | 11/30/2013

    " This book was super engaging and terribly sad. You want so much for things to go well for the family simply because they are so likeable in their honesty. The book will make your heart sink as you root for them to overcome hardships. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rebecca | 11/15/2013

    " Great sense of place. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Steph | 10/24/2013

    " The main character of this book is supposed to be 12/13 years old. She sounds like she's 35. If that doesn't annoy you enough, there is also no plot. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Erin | 10/16/2013

    " Listened to this...it was a good and I think the reader made it even better. There were some strange things that happened, but by the end I was hooked and couldn't wait to see what happened. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 B. Lynn Goodwin | 10/5/2013

    " "Something broke open..." is a line I remember because it rang so true in the context of the story. Events happen that alter us forever. I was fascinated as the layers of each character were peeled away. The book is a strong blend of hope, sadness, and growth. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marilyn | 10/4/2013

    " This is an amazing first novel from Aryn Kyle. I really felt the experiences of sad, lonely Alice, the main character of the book. I hurt for her and kept thinking things would get better in her sad life. I look forward to reading more from Kyle. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amy Lifton | 4/22/2013

    " I loved this book for several reasons. First, it is beautifully written. Second, great characters. Third, depicts a world I lived and loved in CAlifornia - horse ranches, trainers..... and also, it is deep and thoughtful. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Eefner | 3/22/2013

    " a good story. dragged at times, esp when the main character talks on the phone w/ her teacher. boring! some depressing stuff about animal abuse but overall pretty good! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Wendy | 2/17/2013

    " More dysfunctional fiction. If you liked Edgar Sawtelle, you'll like this. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa | 1/31/2013

    " Haunting coming of age story of 12 year old Alice Winston who lives with her family on their horse farm. Horses are a major part of this story, but this is not a "horse book". I couldn't wait to see what happens next, and I dreaded finding out. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lucy | 12/16/2012

    " I thought this book was very good and easily relatable, but was not a warm fuzzy book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kappy | 6/9/2012

    " I was very conflicted about this book. It was compelling, the main character well thought out, but somehow it fell short for me. It is hard to say why. Certainly it was at times barren and hopeless, but at time very involving. I am still thinking about it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sara | 2/26/2012

    " Pretty melancholy and disturbing, but well-written. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Adschaefer | 1/7/2012

    " I read the trade paperback version & loved it! It was a book I couldn't put down as the story and characters completely sucked me in. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nichola | 9/3/2011

    " Whew! It's been a while since a book evoked not just a few tears but actually sobbing and gasping. The last chapter is a killer. Probably the best first novel I've read in years. Can't wait for more from this writer. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Charlane Brady | 8/19/2011

    " I cannot say enough great things about this book. I read it in October and I still think of the characters as well as the overall story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kammy | 8/6/2011

    " I really enjoyed reading about Alice and her family. This book has a lot of sadness, but moments of bright hope. The writing is good and the characters multi-faceted. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lisa | 6/27/2011

    " Especially interesting if you have a knowledge of horses. Ok, but not one of my most favorites. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lisa | 6/27/2011

    " Very depressing story of a very depressing family on a very depressing horse farm. I kept reading it because I kept waiting for the story to get going but it just stayed depressing. And I can never STOP when I have already committed several hours to a book. The writing style was good but.... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathryn | 6/21/2011

    " This book was nearly perfect...until the ending which for me was far too heavy handed. Also, while the pacing throughout the novel was consistent the ending felt rushed. Still, definitely worth reading. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Peggy | 6/8/2011

    " Outstanding. Loved the topic, loved the storyline, loved the writing, loved the reader's voice (audio)
    Bookclub recommendation. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Janice | 5/27/2011

    " It was okay. Glad I listened to it. Would not have read it if it was a book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michelle | 3/27/2011

    " Brilliantly told. This will be an author to keep an eye on & I will be thinking about this story line for a long while. Hard to put down when you get about half-way through. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michelle | 3/16/2011

    " This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. It is from the point of view of a girl growing up on a horse ranch. The book is very insightful yet sad at the same time. "There are no secrets, just things left unsaid" "

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About the Author
Author Aryn Kyle

Aryn Kyle is the author of the bestselling novel The God of Animals and a graduate of the University of Montana writing program. Her short stories have appeared in Ploughshares, the Georgia Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Best New American Voices 2005, Best American Short Stories 2007, and the Atlantic Monthly. Her story “Foaling Season” won a National Magazine Award. She is also the recipient of the American Library Association’s Alex Award, the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, and others. She lives in New York.