Man & Beast features some of the greats of Australian literature, writing about the particular kinships they have with animals – the loves, the losses and the surprising turns those relationships can take. Les Carlyon writes about those strange beings, horse people. Robert Drewe's curious eye falls on everything from bull sharks to bull ants. Don Watson is a secret racehorse fancier. Shaun Micallef remembers the dog that might never have been and Paul Toohey laments the passing of the 'roo dog. Plus, Andrew Rule, Phillip Adams, Greg Baum, Tony Birch, John Birmingham, Anson Cameron, John Clarke, Greg Combet, Trent Dalton, John Elder, Jonathan Green, John Harms, Malcolm Knox, Garry Linnell, William McInnes, Bruce Pascoe, Liam Pieper, Frank Robson, Andrew Rule, John Silvester, Jeff Sparrow, Tony Wilson, Tony Wright share their memorable stories of the animals in their lives.
Andrew Rule grew up in eastern Victoria surrounded by animals. Too small to be a mounted policeman, too big to be a jockey, too frightened to be a rodeo rider, he won the 1974 Sale Agricultural Show essay competition (first prize $5) before starting as a reporter with the Gippsland Times and Maffra Spectator. He later worked at The Age, The Herald and the Herald Sun. He has variously maintained three terriers, two cats and too many old ponies and young racehorses.
"The best of these pieces are stories of deep pain and the role of animals in healing. This is where the collection moves into deeper water, water that is teeming with life."
– Michael McGirr, Fairfax News