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Swallowing a Donkey's Eye

3.87  ·  Rating Details  ·  109 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews

Farm is the mega-conglomerate food supplier for City, populated with rabidly bureaucratic superiors, and sexually deviant tour guides dressed in chicken and duck suits. City is sprawling, technocratic, and rests hundreds of feet above the coastline on the creaking shoulders of a giant wooden pier. When the narrator's single mother, whom he left behind in C
ebook, 275 pages
Published August 15th 2012 by ChiZine (first published January 1st 2012)
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Jan 23, 2016 karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: welcome-author, czp

oh, what, is that me and paul tremblay?? it most certainly is!

Trudi: haha! saw that title and my first thought was "oh noes, she has officially reached rock bottom with the monster porn!" You have corrupted me. I have been corrupted.

i loved this post so much, i had to use it to start my review. i hope that is okay.

i love that you people thought this was erotica. and i think paul will love it, too.

it is not erotic, though, despite a golden-shower scene. it is hard to say what it is. this book is
Richard Thomas
Sep 12, 2012 Richard Thomas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Paul Tremblay’s Swallowing a Donkey’s Eye (ChiZine Publications) is a contemporary version of Animal Farm amped up on bitterness, future technology and sad realizations that things are not going to end well. Our unnamed narrator is forced into situations beyond his control, a reluctant hero in search of his mother, an angry youth who has little love left for his father, a boy not quite ready to be a man.

As a teen, he runs off to work
Mar 12, 2013 Brendan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What an odd and awesome book this is. What starts out as a kind of madcap dystopia turns much deeper and weirder as it goes on. Some of it is hilarious, some of it is profoundly disturbing, but it kept surprising me and defying my expectations, which is excellent, and under the duck suits and golden showers....well, let's say beyond the duck suits and golden showers, there's a novel with serious ambitions and some very challenging ideas about life and death and love and forgiveness.
Nicholas Kaufmann
Jun 25, 2014 Nicholas Kaufmann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tremblay's dystopian, near-future sf novel is funny, angry, and bittersweet all at once. The setting, City, is a place of rampant bureaucracy and injustice, but Tremblay, like his windblown narrator, digs deep enough to find both the absurdity and the heart buried inside it. Tremblay has always been a writer with a deep sense of humanity that comes through in his work, and the deeper you get into SWALLOWING A DONKEY'S EYE, the more humanity you'll find amid its sometimes slapdash shenanigans, ov ...more
Jan 06, 2013 Moshe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
With post-modern echoes of "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," (also a young man's journey to find word of a missing/departed parent) this novel leads the reader deep into the underbelly of a perfected Capitalist dystopia. The slapstick, stylized, and colorful (in the way that an abandoned, haunted amusement park is colorful) tone is a change of pace for Tremblay—while maintaining the author's tongue-in-cheek (or in this case, tongue-in-beak) irreverence that makes the pointedly harsh lessons ...more
Jun 01, 2013 Corey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You could call Tremblay’s novel the Animal Farm or Nineteen Eighty-Four for a new generation, but that would be easy, and not quite right. Like our other two entries, there’s a great deal of surface enjoyment here, just enjoying the ride, but Tremblay continually digs to find hidden deposits of emotion beneath the crazy, usually in reference to the nameless narrator’s childhood. There’s a lot of Orwell scattered about, yes, but Aldous Huxley and Douglas Adams are definitely present in spirit, re ...more
Sep 06, 2012 Barry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another charming, funny, sad, strange tale from a very talented writer.
Daniel Keohane
Sep 07, 2013 Daniel Keohane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a refreshing, absurd and very enjoyable novel. The main character and first-person narrator (who isn’t given a name) is a twenty-something who has left home in City to begin work on Farm. These locales are named for what they are, Farm, City and later in the story, Pier, a poverty- and disease-stricken place below City where the homeless and poor are exiled. When the main character learns that his mother (and this young man has some major mother and father issues, a trait which drives h ...more
Mar 25, 2013 Elsiya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A young man manages to escape Farm when his mother goes missing in City, scared that she has gone homeless and been sent to Pier.
Upon arrival, he stumbles upon his father, who left the house when he was a teenager, who tells him, City wants a mayor.

In a very dark and dystopian world, we come to follow the journey of that kinda rude character, entangled between gouvernment pressures, political issues and his personal beliefs.

I really liked how the characters were developping, in that ver
Benoit Lelievre
Apr 10, 2013 Benoit Lelievre rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's not that George Orwell needed a makeover, really. He's probably more pertinent today than he ever was. What Paul Tremblay did with SWALLOWING A DONKEY'S EYE is to twist ANIMAL FARM into a strange, trapezoidal object of wonder. Unlike Orwell's fable, this is an all-out dystopia that talks to people of our age. Maybe it won't age as well as the classic, but it speaks louder to our generation.

Tremblay goes over the most troubling issues of our age from corporate work environment, to our relat
Martha Hood
Sep 19, 2013 Martha Hood rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Swallowing A Donkey's Eye tells a farcical, satirical, funny, angry, heartfelt, and tragic story. It takes place in an imaginary City, in the now/otherwhen. Roughly the first third is farcical, the second, satirical, and the third is heartfelt. All of it is funny, angry, and tragic. I liked it a lot.

I had a teensy-weensy bit of trouble with a big reveal/plot turn near the end. It didn't quite fit, somehow. Balancing that, the heartfelt part near the end involving the handwritten letter, followed
Karen Heuler
Oct 06, 2012 Karen Heuler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a terrific read and it just kept getting better. It’s funny, sad, smart, and continually surprising. A young man in a dystopic world of theme parks and arbitrary decisions breaks out of the Farm and finds that he’s in an orchestrated run for Mayor. He’s also on a quest to find his mother, who’s disappeared—apparently to the Pier, the underworld beneath City, where all the refuse and homeless are tossed. It’s a magnificent world, screwy and awful and touching. Tremblay’s vision is sardon ...more
Oct 30, 2015 Isidore rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've had mixed experiences with Tremblay in the past (disliking the narcoleptic detective books, liking much of the short fiction), so it's nice to be able to recommend this book without reservation. Although the invention of comic dystopias seems a growth industry these days, this novel is completely fresh and often delightful. The first third, which deals with life on the Farm, is perhaps the liveliest and most memorable part of the book, but the rest, recounting the hapless protagonist's adve ...more
Sep 18, 2012 Bookedpodcast rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
Hear our complete review here:
Nov 26, 2014 Karl marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chizine_own
This is copy 31 of 150 signed numbered copies.
Dec 02, 2012 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“The idiots are shutting off this part of the fence. They’ll beep us when they’re ready.”

I notice angry-proletariat-guy Jonah is back. But I don’t say anything, I just nod, and stare at the fence. Wonder how far I can run before security nabs me; nabs being a more pleasant word than the phrase summarily executed. Let’s pretend I’m able to make it past the initial hurdle of the fence and Farm security, how would I make it through the checkpoints and into City?

Jonah says, “What a fucking mess, huh
Tyrannosaurus regina
This book is strange. So, so strange. Part dystopia and part political satire and part family drama. And it all works, it really does. It was absurd and unsettling at the same time. I'm not sure I liked it, but I sure as hell admired it.
May 10, 2014 Leon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A quick an easy read. I'm neutral about it. Didn't feel for the character much until the end when he was wondering if his mom was happy or not. His dad was just riding the tide of what he knew. Anyways.... I'm OK with it .
Feb 23, 2013 Frank rated it liked it
Paul Tremblay's SWALLOWING A DONKEY'S EYE is an odd story. It's funny, artisric, real and dark. The protagonist id on a journey. Sometimes your sitting right next to him and other times your in another car along side observing.

The generic settings of Farm and City serve both as chatacters if tbe story but also insignificant stories. The story itself feels detatched at times yet the plight of the protagonist pulks you through the plot undaunted.

This is an interesting story that takes place in an
Sep 04, 2013 Zivan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a dystopic novel about a city gone mad and a guy that's caught in the cogs of the insane system.

The thing that I found difficult with Swallowing a Donkey's Eye by Paul Tremblay
Swallowing a Donkey's Eye, was the depressed tone of the narration. I'm not sure if it's the Audiobook or the tone of the text itself, but I preferred the more jovial tone of Love in the Time of Fridges. A similar book set in an city gone mad but with a more humerus tone.

Perhaps the humor helps me get over the dark
Aug 25, 2012 Mairi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
I can't even begin to tell you how excited I was about this book. I've read most of Tremblay's other stuff and really loved the initial forays into to the City/Pier world. A full-blown novel in the same setting? Awesome. The addition of Farm to the world? Brilliant. It was different than I expected, differently dark and horrific than some of the stories, but I enjoyed the hell out of it nonetheless. My only wish is that I'd waited just a liiiiiiittle longer to devour it. I read it right when it ...more
Oct 08, 2013 Keith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Swallowing A Donkey's Eye is a brilliant dystopian satire along the same lines as the very best of Kurt Vonnegut and George Saunders, but without mimicking the two masters distinctive voices. Tremblay charts his own path and with his vivid, hilarious prose brings the worlds of Farm, City,and Pier to horrifying life. Over the last several years with his weirdboiled novels, The Little Sleep and No Sleep Till Wonderland, and his diverse, disturbing short story collection, In The Mean Time, Tremblay ...more
Mar 25, 2014 Julie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are occasional basic grammar mistakes but the plot is very strong.
Caleb Ross
Mar 23, 2013 Caleb Ross rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: type-ebooks, own
A strange book with a surprising amount of heart. Part dystopia, part Animal Farm, part 1984. If you like any of those "parts," you'll like this book.

Jan 08, 2014 Karl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A funny, profane romp full of caustic political observations, bad parenting, and mute farm animals.
Oct 24, 2012 Robb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
My review is available on my podcast:
Oct 03, 2014 Sherilyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: all-john-s-fault
Loved the start, it was hilarious. Still loved it as it took a more serious turn.
Feb 28, 2013 Ron marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unfinished
Weird dystopia, elements of Animal Farm. Not sure if it would appeal.
Jassen Bailey

Review forthcoming at The Crow's Caw.
Hunter rated it it was amazing
May 02, 2016
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Page count 337, not 275! 1 6 Sep 06, 2012 03:10AM  
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Paul Tremblay is the author of the forthcoming novel A HEAD FULL OF GHOSTS (May 2015, William Morrow). His other novels include THE LITTLE SLEEP (Henry Holt), NO SLEEP TILL WONDERLAND (Henry Holt), SWALLOWING A DONKEY'S EYE (Chizine Publications), and the forthcoming YA novel FLOATING BOY AND THE GIRL WHO COULDN'T FLY (Oct. 2015, co-written with Stephen Graham Jones, as P. T. Jones).

He is the aut
More about Paul Tremblay...

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