Outside the gates of the final city of Man, the Animals dare each other to enter the now-empty walls. As their master is gone, they begin to fight over who will take Man’s place and lead them. This reinvention of a religious fable with talking animals is heavy with biblical allegory and seeks to tell the story of God’s spiritual evolution. As Man is risen and the angels rejoice, so must the animals take their new place.
I appreciate the sparse simple syntax of the classic fable that Wright is attempting to imitate. Animals are archetypes of their most modern domesticated representations, including Hound who does not disobey his master, even if Man is gone forever. All animals are in awe of Man in one way or another, and they provide evidence to each other by remembering the order in which they left the Garden of Eden, who rode on Man’s ship during the great deluge, and who wears shoes (Horse). Cat is nominated to enter the city, and she finds a power within that will re-make them, if they allow it.
I love traditional fantasy, mythology, and fables that use anthropomorphized animals, plants, or gods to tell a story that brings some truth of human nature to light. However, I am unable to find any moral lesson or explanation of the animals’ transformation besides an absent God’s will. This story isn’t for me.
Cat stared at him levelly. “How? With words? Has it occurred to none of this august company gathered here that we have all been speaking words in Adam’s speech? This is not a gift we have ever known before before.”