A disturbing social experiment with little in the way of plot progression, Noelle Revaz’s debut novel With The Animals boldly sets out to force the reader to question the very definition of humanity. Thanks to quite brutal, yet eloquently structured language, it mostly succeeds.
Descended from a long line of farmers, Paul and his wife Vulva (yes, he refers to her as Vulva) spend their days hard at work maintaining the family farm. Paul rules over his domain with an iron fist, laying down the law of the land and maintaining his authority over Vulva and their numerous children through proud displays of physical violence. However when the newly hired, well-educated farmhand Jorge arrives on the scene, he carries with him not only his meager personal possessions, but also the mental tools necessary to facilitate a shift in the familial dynamic. Feeling threatened, this kicks Paul’s paranoia into high gear, and registering that the control he’s worked so hard to exert over his family could be slipping away, he begins a passive aggressive campaign to undermine Jorge influence at every possible turn.