AUTHOR: CYRIAK HARRIS | PUBLISHER: UNBOUND | RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
As titles go this is certainly an intriguing one, and certainly one that leaves the subsequent book with something to live up to. It could also itself be used in a review, just repeating those four primary words over and over until the requisite word count is satisfied.
But let’s try and do better.
Striding to the forefront of technical advancement are Betty and Tim, fervently – in the case of the former at least – trying to increase the brain capacity of a horse through some neuro-enhancement jiggery-pokery. But something goes wrong. For Buttercup, the equine subject of their scientific attentions, it is a truly life-changing experience. Initially content with trotting around his field, munching on grass and being rewarded effusively with carrots, Buttercup soon has greater ambitions and what ensues is an existential, cerebral battle for control and survival.
If you’ve ever viewed any of Cyriak Harris’ surreal short animations, you’ll have some idea of what to expect when he turns his attention to the written word. For a debut author, this is a confident and well-written novel that explores thoughts that nestle largely in the outer reaches of our own consciousness. It is initially entertaining and thought-provoking but slides eloquently towards intellectual indulgence in the final third. There is humour throughout, but this latterly becomes lost as Harris strives for a lyrical interpretation of a horse induced Armageddon.
There is much to enjoy in Harris’ writing, and Horse Destroys the Universe is certainly unlike anything you will have likely read before, but it is also at times a rather dense challenge and perhaps not one to pick up just before you go to sleep.