The Devil and The God of Animals by Aryn Kyle

Chains! My baby’s got me locked up in chains, and they ain’t the kind that you can see. — Chains, The Beatles

I’ve been reading The God of Animals this week. It’s not just another book borrowed from my aunt and her book club, it’s also a novel my ex’s father recently enjoyed, I found out when taking his mother to her birthday lunch the other day. In Desert Valley, Colorado, the twelve-year-old protagonist’s father decides to board horses.

In doing so, he invites the company of women who a friend of his daughter’s calls “catfish” —


“women like that ask questions like they care about you, but really, they just want to swallow you up. They want everything that’s yours.” (Kyle, 96)

Catfish exemplify the Devil‘s signature illusion, oppression, and pursuit of personal desire. “Since such narrowness often leads to unhappiness the Devil has come to symbolize misery.” (Rachel Pollack, Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom, 102)

Misery and oppression clearly emerge with the use of an instrument made from two pieces of metal hinged together at one end like a nutcracker. “Only instead of cracking a nut between the metal pieces, it was supposed to be placed over the softest, most delicate skin of a horse’s nose, then squeezed.” (Kyle, 79)


“The surest way to keep a horse still, and the nastiest.” (Kyle, 79)

May your days be catfish and twitch free — at least according to the definitions in this entry. Thanks for the read.

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