Book Review: Here Be Leviathans by Chris Flynn

About the Book:

A collection of funny, brilliant, boundary-pushing stories from the bestselling author of Mammoth.

A grizzly bear goes on the run after eating a teenager. A hotel room participates in an unlikely conception. A genetically altered platypus colony puts on an art show. A sabretooth tiger falls for the new addition to his theme park. An airline seat laments its last useful day. A Shakespearean monkey test pilot launches into space.

The stories in Here Be Leviathans take us from the storm drains under Las Vegas to the Alaskan wilderness; the rainforests of Queensland to the Chilean coastline. Narrated in Chris Flynn’s unique and hilarious style by animals, places, objects and even the (very) odd human, these short fictions push the boundaries of the form by examining human behaviour from the perspective of the outsider.

Published by UQP

Released August 2022

My Thoughts:

It’s not usual to see a short story collection reviewed here, generally, I avoid them; my reasons are many. However, I was a big fan of Mammoth and really enjoy Chris Flynn’s humour and how experimental he is with his perspectives and style, so I put my hand up for a copy of Here Be Leviathans, and I’m so glad I did. Once again, we are treated to a variety of perspectives, from animals to inanimate objects, he makes it work. Each of the stories are so different from each other, even in pacing and tone, so it’s almost a collection that you want to take a break between each story with, rather than reading it like a novel. Indeed, there were a few stories that left me in a state of contemplation about things I’d never really given much thought to.

As is to be expected with a collection of stories, some appealed more than others. I particularly enjoyed the one about the grizzly bear (Inheritance) and the one about the sabretooth tigers (Here Be Leviathans) the most, but I do really love how Chris writes from the perspective of animals, so perhaps I’m showing some unconscious bias here. Plus, the sabretooth tiger one also reminded me of Mammoth, so it was probably always going to be a standout for me on that basis alone.

If you are new to the work of Chris Flynn, be prepared to have your mind boggled. He is without doubt, one of the most creative storytellers I’ve read. A total legend on breaking all the rules and redefining what you can do with fiction if you just let go and use your imagination. Fans of Mammoth will be thrilled with this new release. I enjoyed reading the endnotes on each story, as is to be expected, there is so much in each one and I was awed by the fact that this collection took 10 years to come into being. As you read each story, you are given a sense of hidden depths, from the inspiration through to the intent. This is definitely a short story collection of note. Highly recommended.

Thanks to the publisher for the review copy.

Chris Flynn is taking to the road over the coming months, October to December, to celebrate the publication of his latest book. For info regarding dates and appearances, head to Here Be Leviathans: The Tour, designed by O’Creative.

Here Be Leviathans: The Tour

10 thoughts on “Book Review: Here Be Leviathans by Chris Flynn

  1. Theresa, you’re not a fan of short story collections? Oh my poor heart 😜
    Actually I do understand why some people aren’t keen on them, as I used to feel the same. Now I’m hooked, though, so sounds like I need to read Here Be Leviathans!

    Liked by 1 person

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