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Carrot! Percy Zvomuya on Till We Can Keep an Animal

Till We Can Keep an AnimalMegan Voysey-Braig Percy Zvomuya teeters precariously on the book reviewing high wire for most of his piece on Megan Voysey-Braig‘s recently-Commonwealth-shortlisted debut novel, Till We Can Keep an Animal.

But he eventually makes it safely across and into carrot-land – avoiding a calamitous fall into the sticks, sharpened or otherwise – via such pronouncements as, “Voysey-Braig’s subtlety has to be applauded… the narrative is driven inch by inch by the controlled authorial voice”:

Susan relates the story of her death as a kind of omniscient narrator. When she is killed she doesn’t go wherever it is dead people go. Instead, she hovers in the world between ours and the next, eavesdropping on the conversations of the living, reminiscing about her life. We, as readers, share in these reminiscences. In a deft way the narrative defies the cliché that dead people don’t tell tales.

She is understandably furious about her death: “I am dead and I shouldn’t be.” It’s not only Susan’s story; the book features several other women. In different ways they have had”experiences” in the male world. Raped, repressed and bruised, these women are trying to find their world in the world. They want to heal and to treat the singed hearts of ruthless men.

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