I've been meaning to read this little gem of a book for several years now, and put off seeing the movie so that I could enjoy the book first. (Still haven't seen it yet. First things first.) We recently read this as part of our literary discussion group.
While it fell short technically, the story was so fascinating on its own that it carried the novel to a good place. There were several discourses I found interesting, like the religious explorations and nature of animals as evidenced by zoo life. (This book totally gave me a new perspective on the lives of zoo creatures, which I found surprisingly enlightening.)
Other themes I found interesting were:
- the cycle of life, the drive to remain alive, self-preservation, survival
- hierarchy, alpha and omega citizens
- territory, environment, habitats, and the adaptation thereof
- the interconnectedness of religions with one another and with nature
- humans placement with other animals or as part of the animal world
- "The measure of madness that moves life in strange but saving ways."
- individual survival vs. empathy for others' suffering
- the importance of family relationships
- pain, suffering, discomfort as seen relatively
- storytelling, passing time, imagination vs. perception
- humans' preference for stories of animals with human traits instead of animalistic humans
Have you read this one yet? What were your ponderings on the ending?