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Animal's People

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  3,246 Ratings  ·  295 Reviews
Ever since he can remember, Animal has gone on all fours, the catastrophic result of what happened on That Night when, thanks to an American chemical company, the Apocalypse visited his slum. Now not quite twenty, he leads a hand-to-mouth existence with his dog Jara and a crazy old nun called Ma Franci, and spends his nights fantasising about Nisha, the daughter of a local ...more
Paperback, 374 pages
Published 2007 by Simon & Schuster
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May 16, 2011 Fabian rated it it was amazing
Don't worry if you begin this book and want to put it away. If you do, you will be quite justified since the topic of the Bhopal disaster in Khaufpur in 1984 is incredibly horrifying. You meet the main character (whose spine is so twisted as a result of the "Kampani" that he must go around on all fours) and you are immediately unsure that you want to take the Inferno-like trek through his hometown, where so much devastation and woe is omnipresent. If you decide to put it away, oh well, too bad. ...more
Oct 20, 2009 jo rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: hard to understand why some people didn't like it
Recommended to jo by: Merike
Animal is a teenage boy who, as a consequence of the bhopal disaster of 1984, which is here thinly fictionalized maybe for legal reasons, is bent at the bottom of his spine and thus forced to walk on all fours. on the day of the disaster his parents dropped baby Animal in front of a convent of french nuns, almost certainly before going to their death, and it is one of these nuns, Ma Franci, who raised him. Animal developed his deformity when he was no longer a baby, so his early years were norma ...more
Mar 07, 2012 Neil rated it it was amazing
You know the button for five stars, labelled 'amazing". This is probably one of the few books that deserves it. The blurb doesn't say the half of it; the Union Carbide (now Dow Chemical, may God piss in their soup) debacle left hundreds of thousands maimed and killed...and far more born deformed...without restitution, since the victims (being unable to work) can't afford the quality of lawyers that are available to American multinational corporate ogres.
The hero of this story is one such: a rasc
Jul 05, 2013 LG rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: high school and older
Animal is an unforgettable narrator. Foul-mouthed and unapologetic, he is nonetheless capable of lines that make you burst out laughing: “Is it kind to remind a blind man that he could once see? The priests who whisper magic in the ears of corpses, they’re not saying, ‘Cheer up, you used to be alive.’ No one leans down and tenderly reassures the turd lying in the dust, ‘You still resemble the kebab you once were … ’”

He might have been “a beautiful little boy” before “that night,” but the Apocaly
Justine Knight
Jan 28, 2016 Justine Knight rated it really liked it
I felt that this book was trying, really trying, but in a good way. It was full of intense emotion and good narrative, although at some points during the reading process I struggled to catch the plot and what was actually happening. I normally don't read books like these, although I should, but this was on my module for Creative Writing. Despite a struggle to read, the writer has clear talent and at some delicate points orchestrates the twists and turns beautifully. Overall a good book, just har ...more
Nancy Werking Poling
Jan 30, 2014 Nancy Werking Poling rated it it was amazing
This is the kind of book that takes away all the self-confidence I have as a writer: eloquently written with a powerful narrator and an environmental issue that demands attention. American businesses have exported factories that would probably not be permitted here in our country. This story draws inspiration from a real event: the leak of a poisonous gas at the Bhopal, India, plant of Union Carbide. It is considered by some to be the worst industrial accident ever, killing at least 4,000.

In a
Nov 08, 2007 Jesse rated it liked it
Animal's People is a clever book. As with his first novel, The Death of Mr Love, author Indra Sinha again strives to be the Indian answer to Nabokov with his sly double-meanings and quick wordplay. However, despite effectively tackling an important issue—the Bhopal chemical disaster of 1984—Animal's People is perhaps too clever for its own good. Unless you have expert knowledge of Urdu, Hindi and French in addition to English (I don't) subtleties will be missed. Additionally, as with Mr Love, th ...more
Beth F.
This book was hard for me to get into. It was one of those books that I was content to read while I was physically holding the open book on my lap. But as soon as I put it down to go do something else, I felt no compulsion whatsoever to pick it up again. Something about the way the characters spoke reminded me of Yoda (it was very silly) and the author’s wordplay fell on deaf ears where I was concerned because I don’t speak French, Hindi OR Urdu. Even with the assistance of the glossary at the b ...more
Jun 14, 2015 Vanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: indie
V poslední době jsem nějak nebyla spokojená s žádnou knihou. Tím spíš pro mě byli Zvířetovi lidé zjevením na poušti, je to skutečně výborná kniha, i když její téma je značně depresivní.

Slyšeli jste někdy o “nehodě” v Bhópálu? O tom, jak v prosinci 1984 z chemičky, kterou si americká firma Union Carbid postavila v milionovém indickém městě, unikly desítky tun látek ohrožujících lidské zdraví, desítky tisíc lidí zabily, statisíce na ně doplatily svým zdravím, a ta nefunkční a zamořená továrna tam
Sep 27, 2007 Vanessa rated it did not like it
I felt like I was being re-told a the same thread-bare story. Much of what was beautiful about this book felt unoriginal. Oh, look, the crippled narrator is falling in love with an idealistic girl. I bet you $5 he can't have her, but is too noble to do anything else about it, and then is resigned--cheerfully so--about her relationship to another man. What, no bet? Oops.

I bet he rages against his fate and then gratefully accepts it. C'mon, bet me a measly $5. Hosw about $2?

I bet our heart string
Deeksha Kapoor
Aug 13, 2007 Deeksha Kapoor rated it it was ok
Just put down this book, and I’m left a little confused whether I liked it or not. It is the first time I am reading a fictional story set against the back drop of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy in India. The author does a commendable job describing the life of the main protagonist - Animal - a survivor of the Bhopal gas tragedy; who is forced him move on all fours like an animal due to the poisonous affect on his body. The story is narrated through his eyes and you can very easily visualise the life ar ...more
Oof! Not on sale any more - this book is now $12.99.


Another award-winning novel on sale for Kindle right now. The premise is very interesting, but the narrative style will take some getting used to, I think. But it's only $3.99 and has a lot of critical acclaim, so I'll give it a shot. If you want to, also, you can get your copy here.
May 17, 2016 Samra rated it liked it
Very interesting book. Told from the perspective of one character who thinks of himself as an Animal and not a human being. The way he describes the lives of his people; the ones he loves despite having bouts of jealousy and resentment are totally human. His non self pitying attitude and ability to live in the worst of circumstances is inspiring. It felt a bit lengthy though.
Sep 23, 2007 sisterimapoet rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction-2007
In Animal Sinha created a character that will stay with the reader for a long long time. He takes you by the hand and leads you through his world, seeing things through his eyes. His distinctive voice will infect your thoughts until you find yourself speaking in his tongue at unexpected moments.
Jul 19, 2007 Sarah rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all!
Intense and beautiful book, based on the story of the Bhopal chemical disaster in India. Read it!
Feb 17, 2016 Corrie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dystopian-fic
One minute haunting, the next minute hilarious. Go read this book.
Feb 24, 2014 Cat rated it really liked it
I did not know anything about the Bhopal tragedy before reading this book, and in spite of its fictionalization here, the visceral realities of living in a poisoned community with little to no recourse or restitution are absolutely vivid. Through his protagonist and narrator, Animal, a young man whose spine was misshapen by exposure to the chemical leak, who runs on all fours with strong arms and hears voices, Sinha vivifies the textures of life permeated by toxicity and loss. When Animal hides ...more
There is a difference between appreciating a book's literary merits and actively enjoying it. Animal's People is a fine example of that distinction in my opinion. Whilst I'm in agreement with the majority of reviewers that the way this book is written is absolutely extraordinary, I can't lie and say that I thoroughly enjoyed it because I didn't. I found it hard to follow in places, I thought it was slow getting going and I thought that the plot beneath the wonderful writing was a little thin. It ...more
Oct 07, 2009 Katrina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those Who like Their Books a Little Off the Wall
This book was hard for me to get into. Animal's People is a clever book but it was one of those books that, while I was content to read it while I was physically holding the open book on my lap, as soon as I put it down to go do something else, I felt no compulsion whatsoever to pick it up again. However, despite effectively tackling an important issue—the Bhopal chemical disaster of 1984—Animal's People is perhaps too clever for its own good. Unless you have expert knowledge of Urdu, Hindi and ...more
Jul 25, 2011 Manu rated it liked it
Shelves: review
"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.." That's how the book begins, and sets the tone and perspective for the book.

The title of the book could have been built around Khaufpur (based on Bhopal and its 1984 tragedy) as well, after all, the entire story hinges around the one night that changed life in the city forever. But Indra Sinha's success lies in creating a character whose ve
May 21, 2009 Gerund rated it liked it
THIS novel was one of the six shortlisted for the 2007 Man Booker Prize, and it’s not hard to see why.

First, the ripped-from-the-headlines premise: The people of Khaufpur, a
poverty-stricken Indian city ravaged by the leak from an American chemical plant, seek justice from the company.

This comes with some big themes: globalisation, culture clashes, self versus society and social responsibility.

Then there’s the cantankerous narrator. Animal is a teenager whose spine has been damaged by the chemica
Jan 22, 2015 Kelsey rated it really liked it
This book, based on the 1984 Bhopal disaster, is hilarious, sad, annoying, and refreshing all at the same time. Indra Sinha is a master with language, and finds a way to incorporate implicit and explicit meaning throughout the novel.

Animal, who's spine got twisted from a chemical leak in his town, is a boy who walks on all fours. He can't remember his real name, and has been called "animal" since he was young. He deals with love, lust, friendship, anger, and even hallucinations throughout the st
Oct 27, 2011 Joanna rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed Animal as a narrator. The book is told in first-person narration by Animal, a boy whose spine was bent following a factory disaster (transparently based on Bhopol). He is a tough street kid, smart, interested in the world, but touchingly naive about the details of some of what he sees. The writing was a bit uneven - sometimes the voice rang true and authentic and the mixed Hindu words seemed to fit perfectly. But at other times, the frequent inversion of subject and verb just se ...more
The book has a great premise - I grew up with stories about the Bhopal Gas tragedy (my family was too far away to be harmed). Animal has a very funny, distinctive voice. The characters are well drawn, and I could see them before my Eyes. I even liked the fact that it sounded exactly as it was described - like it was translated from Animal's version of Hindi, with no attention paid to grammar. That's why I've given the three stars. But I could not relate to Animal - at all.

I guess the repeated-i
May 18, 2012 Pallak rated it really liked it
Animal's People is an insight into the lives of people of contemporary India. It's about a boy who is on his all fours ever since the Bhopal disaster took place in India and devastated the lives of thousands of innocent people. Even after several years, babies are still born with various disorders. The story is about the fight between the American owners of the company and the innocent people who are still facing the after-effects of the disaster.
This book is a good read as it gives a glimpse o
Jul 13, 2014 Shanmugam rated it really liked it
20 years later, Bhopal Gas Tragedy, the world’s worst industrial disaster, is looked through the eyes of a cripple. Animal, the protagonist and narrator, takes us through the dark alleys, slums and continuing welfare, legal & political activities to bring back normal life.

Guess copywriter genes in Indra Sinha, helped him writing excellent prose for this novel, a few passages here and there brought back ‘Oskar Matzerath’ to my mind. Obscenity as a shock element, was abound in this book. Narr
Colleen Fuller
Sep 22, 2008 Colleen Fuller rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books I've ever read and helped me understand some of the impact on the people of Bhopal, India, who suffered the consequences of Union Carbide's chemical explosion and its on-going refusal to take responsibility for it or for the pollution from the plant. According to Amnesty Internationl, "UCC continues to refuse to appear before the court in Bhopal to face trial and the Indian Supreme Court-endorsed final settlement has left survivors living in penury." Dow, which took ...more
Sep 20, 2012 Rosemary rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1001-books
I found this a very painful and moving story, not easy to read, but buoyed up with hope. It's the story of a young man who has grown up (or anyway, grown) in the shadow of a chemical factory disaster that has left him having to walk on all fours, so he's called 'Animal'. He's living in terrible poverty with people suffering from the poisonous fallout all around him, but he's surrounded by tough love and friendship. There is a lot of sex-related language and swearing - that seemed very realistic ...more
Mathis Bailey
Nov 23, 2011 Mathis Bailey rated it it was ok
As a lover of Indian fiction, this wasn't my cup of tea. A poor Indian boy running around the city on all fours with a boner isn't something I would like to read about. That said, I found the writing subpar and crass. I thought the conversations between the characters were silly and cartoonish. There were times when the story did not go anywhere or make any kind of sense. The vernacular had taken me a minute to get use to. However, I did finished it and felt accomplished. Ending wasn't spectacul ...more
David Grieve
If you have a social concience you reallly should read this book and then ask yourself just how did "the company" get away with it? It is a story of the aftermath of the Union Carbine chemical disaster in Bhopal, although given a different name. It is told through the eyes of a young man badly deformed as a result of "that night" when the disaster occurred. It took a few pages to get into it but it was well worth it - funny, poignent, moving - all you would expect (or hope) from a Booker nominee ...more
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Thoughts on this book? 9 49 May 15, 2014 02:46PM  
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Indra Sinha (born in 1950 in Colaba, which is part of Mumbai in the state of Maharashtra, India) is a British writer of English and Indian descent. Formerly a copywriter for Collett Dickenson Pearce & Partners, Sinha has the distinction of having been voted one of the top ten British copywriters of all time.

Indra Sinha's books, in addition to his translations of ancient Sanskrit texts into Eng
More about Indra Sinha...

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“At the end of time when God judges us humans, I just hope He remembers to judge Himself as well.” 18 likes
“You're well enough looked after now' says Farouq. 'We are your friends. Don't we care about you? All this bitterness, it's in your own mind. To be accepted as a human being, you must behave like one. The more human you act, the more human you'll be.' He spoils the effect of this decent speech by adding with a smirk, 'Four-foot cunt.” 5 likes
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