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5 of 5
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list price: $25.95
edition:Paperback
category: Fiction
published: March 2011
ISBN:9780889843417
publisher: Porcupine's Quill

Beasts of New York

by Jon Evans, by (artist) Jim Westergard

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contemporary, action & adventure
5 of 5
1 rating
rated!
rated!
list price: $25.95
edition:Paperback
category: Fiction
published: March 2011
ISBN:9780889843417
publisher: Porcupine's Quill
Description

A violent, epic, action-packed urban quest full of very eccentric, often hilarious, extremely dangerous characters who also happen to be animals -- the wildlife of New York City, to be exact.

About the Authors
Jon Evans

Jon Evans

Born and raised in Waterloo, Ontario, Jon Evans is the son of a Rhodesian expatriate father and a tenth-generation Canadian mother. He studied Electrical & Computer Engineering at the University of Waterloo, graduated in 1996, and promptly moved to California to work in the burgeoning software industry. Evans spent the next fourteen years working, writing, and travelling far and wide around the globe before finally returning to Canada in 2010 -- for now. Evans is the author of four thrillers, one graphic novel, and one dark urban fantasy, and his journalism has been published in Wired, The Guardian, Reader's Digest and The Globe and Mail. His first novel, Dark Places, won the 2005 Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel. Evans currently lives in Toronto and at www.rezendi.com.

Author profile page >

Jim Westergard

Jim Westergard was born in Ogden, Utah in 1939. He was educated at a variety of colleges and universities in California, Arizona and Utah where he completed his BFA and MFA at Utah State. Westergard taught at Metropolitan State College and Northern Illinois University before moving to Alberta in 1975, where he taught at Red Deer College until his retirement in 1999. He became a Canadian citizen in 1980.

Jim Westergard has been creating prints from wood engravings since university days in the late 60s, but had never completed a book-length collection until the original limited letterpress edition of Mother Goose Eggs. The first engraving for this project was finished in 1999. Then, after a four-year struggle which included an unexpected hernia operation and reprinting the press-sheets a second time with helpful hints from Crispin Elsted of the Barbarian Press (Mission, BC), Mother Goose Eggs was finally bound and released in a deluxe edition of eighty copies in 2003. Author profile page >

Awards
  • Short-listed, ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year
Editorial Reviews

'EPIC!

'Beasts of New York is about a squirrel named Patch who, out of desperation and need, adventures beyond his home in Central Kingdom to try and save it. While it seems that fate is conspiring against him, taking him further from his home than any squirrel has traveled, his journey is a necessary step to saving all of Central Kingdom from the evil trying to consume it....

'This book reads like a fantasy novel, even though it is set in New York City. The horrors that Patch encounters at times seemed so unreal to me, despite knowing where they were. Seeing them from another pair of eyes gave some things a new air of terror and others one of wonder.

'This is not a light novel. It is very dark, and at times absolutely horrifying, but I connected so much to Patch as a hero that, in the end, I was left with tears of relief and happiness in my eyes.'

— GoodReads

My initial reaction when I received Jon Evans' Beasts of New York in the mail was, what a beautiful book! With the rise of e-reading, I've long believed that the future of print publishing is in books that are practically works of art. [...]So, when I saw the absolutely beautiful way Porcupine's Quill printed Beasts of New York, I fell in love with the textured, cream-coloured pages and the ornate letters that opened each section. I also love the wood engravings by Jim Westergard. I was totally grossed out by the one of the rats, but overall, they're beautiful. I love how realistic the fur looks, and am amazed whenever I remember that these images were originally created on wood. This book is a work of art, an example of the kind of reading experience e-books can't offer (an image of a wood engraving on a screen will also be beautiful, but not quite as beautiful as on this type of paper, I think).

[...]

I was afraid the book would end up being like a nature documentary. Luckily, however, the story becomes much more involved than that. I quickly became intrigued by Patch's adventures, and loved seeing New York City through his eyes. Cars become "death machines" and apartment buildings are "mountains." In the hands of a lesser writer, I can imagine such descriptions being cutesy, but Evans pulls it off. At times, even I felt like I was traveling in a hostile, utterly alien environment, and I grew up in a city!

[...]

Beasts of New York is a contemporary urban fable, geared for adults, but also a story that I think mature kids will appreciate. There aren't a lot of adult books starring animals, and Evans' animals seem less anthropomorphized than the books and movies I remember. Beasts is an exciting tale overall, and a beautiful, beautiful book.

— Literary Treats

'More than anything else, Evans's book is about communication, physical, verbal, and instinctual; about gossip, eavesdropping, and a series of messages sent, received, misinterpreted, and mistimed. How his various creatures find their ''voices'' in their moments of need and manage to be understood by each other and their enemies is artfully imagined and constructed.

'Through the eyes and hearts of Evans's furry characters, Beasts of New York gets at a lot of complex stuff: issues of identity, specifically nature versus nurture, are explored without being heavy-handed, and the real-life distances between bravery and cowardice, loyalty and disloyalty, hope and despair are often revealed to be just a hair's breadth apart.'

— ForeWord Magazine

The best part about this book, though, is what saves Patch over and over from being preyed upon by bigger animals: his ability to communicate across the species barrier. Patch is able to speak bird, which earns him respect and memorability from the birds he encounters. It is because Patch is such an efficient communicator that allows him to make friends with the other animals he meets, who turn out to be helpful acquaintances in the long run.

Early on in the book, Evans speaks of animal communication, in that it is not made up of words or sounds, the way human language is. Instead, animals communicate with each other using a system of sounds, movements and body languages. As a human reader interpreting Patch's discussions with other animals, I always got a kick out of what they would say to each other. When Patch meets a dog in the street, the dog strains to the end of his leash, shouting "Kill you and eat you! Kill you and eat you!" at Patch over and over. This made me giggle, as it's pretty much exactly what I would imagine a dog would say to a squirrel in such a state!

Since reading Patch's amazing adventure story, I have noticed that I now look at animals in a whole new way.

— Dana the Book Lady

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