The Masters Review Blog

May 9

May Book Review: Small Animals Caught in Traps by C. B. Bernard

Today, we’re pleased to share our next book review for May: Small Animals Caught in Traps by C. B. Bernard reviewed by Irene Lyla Lee! “A small animal caught in a trap is a horrible and mundane scene,” Lee writes in her review. “Wildlife is killed for commerce or because they are perceived as pests. Bernard effectively proposes the fatal tragedy of a world dictated only by humans, and more specifically, by patriarchy.” Read the full review at the link below.


True tragedy holds us with its prose, making it safe to fall in love with the characters even when we know their fate. We discover the personalities within ourselves, so in a way, they live on. Tragedy, according to Nietzsche, describes the genre as catharsis: joy seeping from walls of pain. Small Animals Caught in Traps by C. B. Bernard, published in April of 2023 by Blackstone Publishing, is a toothed, unrelenting story that holds and doesn’t let go: a tragedy in the purest sense.

For all the human qualities illuminated in tragedy, Bernard is wise to entwine the animal within his narrative, as if to include their plight with that of humans. This strategy restores the genre to its original meaning, tragos means “a goat cry” in Greek. And while it is unclear the exact historical purpose of the term, certainly, animals, like goats, knit to human society seem to hold our darknesses, unable to be either human, or their wild ancestors, leaving them in constant state of miscommunication. This misalignment of identity is at the core of the book.

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