The God of Animals

Unabridged / Go to Abridged Audiobook

Written By: Aryn Kyle

Narrated By: Lily Rabe

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Date: March 2007

Duration: 11 hours 31 minutes


Aryn Kyle's breathtaking first novel opens with a dead girl in a canal and ends with an act of violence so astonishing that it upends the lives of all its characters.

Alice and Nona Winston are sisters raised on a horse ranch in Desert Valley, Colorado. When 17-year-old Nona elopes with a rodeo cowboy, 12-year-old Alice is left to bear the brunt of her family's troubles: a depressed, bed-ridden mother; an overworked father; and a rundown horse ranch in need of constant attention.

Through the hottest summer Desert Valley has seen in 15 years, Alice and her father work and breed their horses, clean the stalls, give riding lessons, and, as the bills pile up, lower their heads and take in boarders-- the pampered, bottled-water-drinking pets of rich doctors' wives. For Alice it's a social education, bringing her into contact with a new breed of women and the patent power of class and wealth. Be it horses or people, she learns, everything comes down to bloodlines.

And always in the background is the specter of Polly Cain, the dead girl from school, with whom Alice invents a fictional best-friendship. Alice inherits Polly's ominous telephone infatuation with Mr. Delmar, the 7th grade English teacher, and nightly sits in her sister's closet, pink telephone in her lap, waiting for the secret phone call that will take her away from heat, horses, and family.

And then the rains come, ending the heat and the drought and bringing everything to a grinding halt in a series of events so shocking, so moving, it will have readers on the edge of their seats, hearts pounding, fingernails gripped in teeth.

A coming-of-age story that sees Alice through her first kiss, her first beer, her first horse show ribbon, and her first major betrayal of family--this is a powerful, poignant, gripping and exceptionally well-crafted novel like no other. A tour de force.