Book Review || Mammoth by Chris Flynn

Monday, April 27, 2020

Chris Flynn
28th April 2020

This is such a unique book with a lot to say - our main protagonist is certainly chatty and tells his story in sections, when he's not being interrupted by a Tyrannosaurus bataar (different from a Tyrannosaurus rex), or a mummified hand that can talk, or a penguin... There is so much that is strange and wonderful about this book, and I can see why it has so much excellent praise.

In case you can't tell from my first paragraph - this book relies on humour to carry the story along and, whilst it really did have me laughing at different times, often the humour fell a little flat for me - I found it wasn't my humour overall - but there's also a lot of other things going on. Our main character, Mammut, tends towards a more dignified tone (much of the humour comes from other characters interjecting), and tells his story with a lot of really interesting events. I really could almost believe that I was reading the story of an actual mammoth. So I think the interjections from other characters was good to keep the story flowing, but overall irritated me at times because they tended to think Mammut was being boring, whilst I found him fascinating and wanted him to continue uninterrupted. Alas.

There is definitely comment here on how humans have a tendency to destroy the very things we need to survive, and how we as a species bulldoze everything in our path in search for a 'better future' (or even just a instantaneous burst of pleasure), but the book overall felt hopeful to me, and I really loved that it struck that tone in the end. I feel it can be easy to make everyone feel like humans are the worst species ever, it's a lot harder to remind us that we're acutally pretty alright, sometimes.

7/10 well-preserved, but also sentient, stars.

I received a review copy of this book from University of Queensland Press in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and feelings are my own.

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