Friday 10 August 2007

These animals ain't cute!

I've been reading a remarkable little book - 'Each Day a Small Victory' by Chips Hardy. It's a kind of cute animal tale with a twist - it ain't cute! Far from it. This is anthropomorphic nature red in tooth and claw, with a twist of black humour.

The anti-hero of the book, Max, is a stoat whose only aim in life is to find his next meal, while avoiding becoming someone else's. In that sense, it's the most honest animal story I've ever come across, and it's a great read.

Chips clearly knows his countryside very well indeed - there is plenty of detail about the various animal characters and their habits. Apparently he is a British Comedy Award winner, and has produced and written for TV and theatre. I'm planning to interview him shortly - should be fascinating!

The book has some stunning illustrations (above) by Oscar Grillo, who has worked on Monsters Inc and Men in Black, among others.

The publisher's blurb says this book spearheads a new genre in literature, which they're calling 'rural noir'. I suspect it could prove to be a one-off. Either way it's set to become a classic. Read it. Just don't give it to any sensitive young nieces or nephews unless you know what you're doing!

'Each Day a Small Victory' by Chips Hardy. Published by Can of Worms Press, hardback, £12.99. (See the comment on this post for a link to the publisher's website).


CanOfWorms said...

James, thanks for this great endorsement of Chip's first novel. The sentiments you express underscore the reason that Can of Worms wanted to publish this great find. As for 'Rural Noir' being a one-off, I am sure it won't be if others like yourself see the same merits in Chips' writing. Thanks again for the support, I've put a link to your blog from ours and will let you know when Chips is out and about signing his book so any of your readers might wish to come along. Best wishes Tobias Steed, Publisher ~ Each Day A Small Victory

James Marchington said...

Listen to a chapter from the book, read by Robert Lindsay, here.

More info here.