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Beasts of England by Adam Biles review – Animal Farm for the post-Brexit era

This lively sequel to Orwell’s farmyard satire skewers the dysfunction of the past decade, from sleaze and xenophobia to the pandemic and fake news

The past decade in world politics offers plenty of easy opportunities to invoke George Orwell. But writing a sequel to Animal Farm, a book that exemplifies Italo Calvino’s definition of a classic – that we don’t need to have read it to know it – is a riskier undertaking. In Beasts of England, Adam Biles has updated and retooled Animal Farm for today, and in this clever, resourceful and at times painful novel, the risk pays off.

Orwell’s 1945 fable was about totalitarianism in other countries and other political systems. Beasts of England is unmistakably about England now. It takes its title from Animal Farm’s revolutionary song – “Rings shall vanish from our noses / And the harness from our back” – before it was outlawed by a tyrannical regime. Though it evokes the original’s characters and backstory, Beasts of England is very much its own book. A thread that binds the two is Benjamin, the long-lived donkey who remembers the original revolution and its aftermath, and bridges the two eras as he bridges the two novels.

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Read the original article at The Guardian

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