Reading Mammoth from Chris Flynn was a fantastic way to keep the isolation blues at bay. The narrator’s voice is one I have not heard before. The language used to tell the story was brilliant, witty, intelligent, and revealing. The story will excite anyone who loves history, animals, and snippets of little-known facts about famous people. In fact, you could say this was an autobiography of a Mammoth. As an extra, we see social changes and conditions along his journey.
The tale begins with the narrator speaking from a glass display cabinet in New York. He is awaiting an auction where he and many other fossils will be sold to the highest bidder. In the case with him is a dinosaur, who listens (not always politely) to the reminiscing’s.
They exchange stories, although it is the Mammoth’s life story we follow. The climate changes and the presence of humans who are a threat to his herd, convince Mammoth that it is time to take them further north to colder regions. This leads to the death of the Mammoths.
The dinosaur then interrupts by telling of his discovery in the Gobi Desert, and “What a shit hole it was.” The fossils exchange stories for some time and reveal current political and historical facts, Theodore Roosevelt shot a reputed 11,000 creatures, quite an amazing feat, according to Mammoth. Later the addition of Queen Hatshepsut’s hand, and a penguin who is rather coarse, join the pair in the cabinet. They both have stories to add.
The research gathered to make this such an authentic story (apart from the animal viewpoints), is immense. The author had used technical terms where possible, but in context, for ease of understanding. The humour, both in the situation, the characters and their stories compel the reader to laugh out loud. While statements by the Mammoth “Ownership is a unique human notion”, are deeply thoughtful.
Mammoth is such an unusual look at our planet, its inhabitants, and their thoughts, that it is a must read for all.