Beasts (Crowley novel)

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First edition, cover art by John Cayea[1]

Beasts (ISBN 0-385-11260-2) is a novel by American writer John Crowley, published in 1976 by Doubleday.

Plot summary[edit]

Beasts describes a world in which genetically engineered animals are given a variety of human characteristics. Painter is a leo, a combination of man and lion. Reynard, a character derived from medieval European fable, is part fox.

Political forces result in the leos being deemed an experimental failure, first resigned to reservations, and later to be hunted down and eliminated. A central element of the story is the relationship between Painter and Reynard, who acts as a kingmaker behind the scenes.


The New York Times reviewer Gerald Jonas praised Crowley's "prodigious inventiveness", describing the novel as "a memorable tale that ends too soon."[2]

Brian W. Aldiss and David Wingrove reported that "for all the poetry in Crowley's writing, Beasts treats its subject matter in a realistic mode that gives the book a resonance and a relevance it might otherwise have lacked."[3]


  1. ^ drsleep. "John Crowley: The Books". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2016-04-18.
  2. ^ "Of Things to Come", The New York Times, November 21, 1976
  3. ^ Aldiss & Wingrove, Trillion Year Spree, Victor Gollancz, 1986, pp. 456–57

External links[edit]