New & notable: ‘Holy Cow: A Modern-Day Dairy Tale’

A cow, a turkey and a pig escape from their farm. Sounds like the beginning of a funny joke, but it’s actually the premise of Holy Cow: A Modern-Day Dairy Tale, the debut novel from the former Fox Mulder and Hank Moody himself, David Duchovny.

It’s not a stretch. Before he became an actor (TV, stage and film), screenwriter and director, Duchovny earned a master’s degree in English literature from Yale and was on the Ph.D. track. For his first novel, he has come up with this satire wrapped around a fairy tale that touches on farming and food, religion, animal rights, and peace in the Middle East.

The three protagonists know the truth is out there, and they’re determined to travel where they won’t be eaten. The cow, Elsie Bovary (the narrator), teams up with a pig, Jerry, aka Shalom, and Tom, a smooth-talking turkey who can’t fly but is a whiz with an iPhone.

They’re very inventive as they travel the globe to follow their dreams: Elsie wants to go to India, where cows are sacred, Jerry/Shalom to Israel and Tom to Turkey.

Illustrations by Natalya Balnova (including the cover) add to the fairy-tale vibe. Bonus: If you’d rather hear Duchovny read his tale, he’s the narrator for the audiobook (Macmillan Audio, $19.99).

— Celeste Williams

Holy Cow: A Modern-Day Dairy Tale

by David Duchovny

Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $24