I was sent this book by headline publishing group for an honest review.
After reading ‘A vision of fire’ by Gillian ‘Skully’ Anderson a few months ago, I was satisfied to have reunited the partnership when I received ‘Holy Cow’ from headline books for a review. The X-Files partnership certainly could not be any more contrasting in their writing, from Gillian we had an entertaining yet intelligent sci-fi novel, whilst Duchovny delivers us an outlandish & rather bizarre comedy.
As the title suggests, yes the story is narrated by a talking cow named Elsie who sees on the discovery channel on the ‘Box God’ that their mums & dads don’t just run off after they are born. After her discovery Elsie makes the decision to travel to India where cows are worshipped rather than slaughtered. On her escape she reluctantly takes Jerry the Pig (who renames himself Shalom for the mission.) & Tom the Turkey who also wish to reach destinations other than end up as dinner. Just imagine them to be the replacements for the Englishman, Irishman & Scotsman.
After reading a few chapters it was clear to see that the book has been written in a style you would expect to see on the script of a slapstick tv sitcom, with its short witty sentences. This however does make it an easy, speedy reading. The paronomasia is perpetual, with brackets sometimes stating the obvious (just to make sure the pun was understood.)
‘So when we cows have a feeling, we feel it, till it passes. Then we moo-ve. Boom. Didn’t see that coming, did you?’
I appreciated the funny references to 70s rock bands & even if the puns were clutching at straws towards the end, I still found myself chuckling at the udder craziness of the book. (whoops, he’s got me going.)
ELSIE- ‘What are Jews?’
JERRY ‘Its a long story, some say the greatest story ever told, but basically, Jews are Christians with longer sideburns. And a better sense of humour.’
The book is not written in vain though & does tackle serious topics that are unfortunately embedded in todays society such as religious diversity & mockery as well as cruelty to animals which appears to be close to the authors heart despite all the buffoonery that occurs. Duchovny certainly well to emotionally attach the reader to Elsie the bovine, certainly to the point you would probably decide against a hamburger whilst reading it.
Elsie Bovary is a cow and a pretty happy one at that. Until one night, Elsie sneaks out of the pasture and finds herself drawn to the farmhouse. Through the window, she sees the farmer’s family gathered around a bright Box God – and what the Box God reveals about something called an ‘industrial meat farm’ shakes Elsie’s understanding of her world to its core.
The only solution? To escape to a better, safer world. And so a motley crew is formed: Elsie; Shalom, a grumpy pig who’s recently converted to Judaism; and Tom, a suave turkey who can’t fly, but can work an iPhone with his beak. Toting stolen passports and slapdash human disguises, they head for the airport …
Elsie is a wise-cracking, slyly witty narrator; Tom dispenses psychiatric advice in a fake German accent; and Shalom ends up unexpectedly uniting Israelis and Palestinians. David Duchovny’s charismatic creatures point the way toward a mutual understanding and acceptance the world desperately needs.