April Book Club: Animal's People - Indra Sinha

 Animal's People


"I used to be human once. So I'm told. I don't remember it myself, but people who knew me when I was small say I walked on two feet just like a human being..."


Have you ever felt a character was so real it leapt at you straight off the page?

Yesterday evening, that’s exactly what happened to me. This character lunged at me with the full force of his personality and chased me round the room. He didn’t have the proper use of his legs and well, I was limping from a sprained ankle. So it was a bit of a slow motion chase. But still quite dramatic with screaming, flailing arms and a great deal of shuffling.  

Anyway, he soon cornered me and demanded that April’s book club slot be given to him, as I had promised last year when I first met him. You see, he had waited patiently for one whole year so that Jhumpa Lahiri could do her thing.

Now he was back to claim his position.  

He thrust his story into my hands and gave me a warning look (I-know-where-you-live) before scuttling back inside the book to narrate.

So without further ado, let me introduce you to the star of April’s book club... <drum roll please> ...


He's simply one of a kind.

If I described him to you as an orphan survivor of a chemical catastrophe which had left him permanently on all fours and with a penchant for using earthy, colourful language, he would probably unleash said language at me with a scathing, comical retort.

So I’d better not.

He wouldn't give a monkey's to hear his story had been shortlisted for the 2007 Man Booker Prize and that it had won the 2008 Commonwealth Writer's Prize. Prizes, schmizes he'd probably say (couched in that earthy, colourful language I mentioned earlier).

So I’d better not tell you about those things either.

As you'll find out, Animal is a young adult character full of depth and raw humour who’ll capture your attention from the moment you open the book. What he really wants to tell you is what it's like to live in his world on all fours. He wants to chat to you about his life after India's Chernobyl - aka the 1984 Bhopal disaster. You wouldn't think laughter and this heavy topic go hand in hand, but with Animal on the scene all bets are off.  

We'll meet his best friend, Jara the dog. He'll tell you about crazy Ma Francini at the Convent. And he'll share his deepest thoughts with you about Nisha, the daughter of a local musician. Is he falling for her? Does he see a possible future with her?

He'll show you how the cynical exploitation by corporations affects those like him at grass roots level. Can his people defeat institutional corruption to get the compensation and justice they deserve? Will they band together or will individual self-interest tear them apart? 

All will be revealed as Animal speaks with brutal honesty about his life, his people and the wider issues of justice, equality and the nature of humanity. 

Yes, solemn themes. With plenty of laughs along the way.  

In fact, something tells me this is a special character who will stay in our hearts and memories for a very long time to come...




"An extraordinary achievement." - Independent

"Every now and then you come across a novel so honest it leaves you gasping for breath." - Indian Express

"Bawdy, irreverent ... Animal's compelling vernacular, with its mangled, Yoda-like syntax, conjures up the colour, cruelty and camaraderie of life in the Indian city... ." - New Statesman

"A glorious sense of humour ... Sinha's lyrical story touches on universal truths." - Daily Telegraph

"A scorching account of the Bhopal disaster's harrowing legacy doesn't sound like a lot of fun. But it is." - Guardian

"Explores the really big issues ... and does not flinch from what it discovers." - Observer


Amazon Product Details

·         Paperback: 400 pages

·         Publisher: Pocket Books (4 Feb 2008)

·         Language: English

          Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars (30 customer reviews)


Link to book via Amazon:-



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  • Seema

    Hi everybody, nice to meet all of you yesterday. Very good boos and discussion. Thanks Chhuvi.

    April 14, 2013

  • Sheila C

    Interesting book, excellent discussion, great company - thanks Chhuvi - you did a good job!

    April 14, 2013

    • Navin A.

      was nice to meet you too! :)

      April 14, 2013

  • Chhuvi

    It was a real pleasure discussing the book with you guys yesterday. Good mileage :) You all made some very interesting points that provided much food for thought. A surprising consensus about the first one hundred pages and the final quarter. Now o’clock? Always :) Laptops and pressure cookers? Absolutely ;) Thank you to those of you who managed to get there in the end! x

    1 · April 14, 2013

    • Navin A.

      thanks for organising this! you did a good job! :)

      April 14, 2013

  • Navin A.

    interesting book.. nice discussions..

    April 13, 2013

  • Navin A.

    hi.. Its my first time.. I just finished work and can reach by 5pm. Will you guys still be there? is there a social catchup after the book discussion?

    April 13, 2013

  • Malvinder

    My apologues Chhuvi, for the last minute change. I will try and come for the social after. Have a good one.

    April 13, 2013

  • Ranju

    sorry,not well.

    April 13, 2013

  • Chhuvi

    To those of you who have emailed me about not being able to finish the book in time, feel free to join the discussion anyway if you'd like to and share your thoughts on the book so far

    April 11, 2013

    • Malvinder

      Thanks Chhuvi, have not read the book but would still like to attend and listen to the discussion. Promise to keep my mouth shut ;-)

      April 12, 2013

  • Peter L.

    Hi Chuvvvi I regret that I will not now be able to join the Moglai-Gizmodions on this one, I trust this ancient people will survive this minor setback....

    April 7, 2013

  • Peter L.

    Hi Chhuvi, sorry I will not now be able to join the Moglai-Gizmodions on this one. I trust this ancient group will survive this latest setback.....

    April 7, 2013

  • Ade

    Hey Vineet, I'm so sorry but I can no longer attend this month's book club :-(. No doubt there will be a brilliant discussion. Hope to see everyone next month.

    April 7, 2013

  • Zara

    Hope to be there

    March 30, 2013


    I have passion for writing,, my write is my right. So glad to see you all. I love reading and writing fiction.

    March 25, 2013

  • Sonny

    i can't make the discussion now unfortunately, but am hoping to make the social afterwards....

    March 20, 2013

  • Chhuvi

    Sorry to hear you can't make it Mariam. You'll be with us in spirit - or Skype ;) Have a great time in Canada.

    February 17, 2013

  • Mariam

    Had to change my trip to Canada because of the recent storms and will now be away during this meeting. :-(

    February 12, 2013

  • Chhuvi

    Glad you like the choice :) Yes, Animal mentioned something about this when he cornered me. He said he'd pondered over whether to save his little visit for you but then remembered the hand-on-heart promise I'd made to him last year. As I discovered this week, Animal never forgets.

    January 17, 2013

  • Anu

    Oh awesome! This was close to being the March book :-)

    January 16, 2013

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