Pride: Having found ‘pride’ amongst the lions of Africa, new novel explores what it really means to be a man
Defying genre, this novel will pique the interest of both a straight and gay readership.
Published on 4th April 2022, Pride is an intriguing novel in which the author uses an African safari as his backstory to unravel the psychology behind the concept or sin of pride and the power that can be found in humility. The novel also delves into the demystification of male supremacy and the rarely spoken truths that surround toxic masculinity.
Using his experience of being almost mauled by a lioness whilst working in Zambia on a lion rehabilitation programme and his subsequent reactions as the catalyst to his writing, Mark Howells has delivered an accomplished and observational novel. Defying genre it is a novel that will pique the interest of both a straight and gay readership.
A story of bonding, coming to terms with the truest version of yourself and living an authentic life (without needing to conform to unachievable stereotypes), Pride will resonate long after its final page.
What do men have to be proud of? James has always known pride to be the biggest of sins but going on a hunting safari might just be what he needed to experience real humility. A pride of lions is a force to be reckoned with. They are free, ferocious, feral. Forever committed to protecting one another. Perhaps humans should take notes.
When James ends up exposed and hunted in the wilderness, he decides he better start. In nature, there is no time to draw comparisons, worry about being masculine enough, or show off whatever power you may think you hold over others. When you hear a roar, you better start running. When you stumble, you better get back up. When the lion catches up to you, you better show you are not a threat.
That pride you thought was well-deserved. That superiority you sharpened like a knife. They’re not weapons you can use. They’re ropes that tie you down. As James forms a strong bond with the others in the lion camp, he realises society has always spun tales about men that no man can live up to.
Now that those rules don’t apply to him anymore, what is left of his identity? Can he roam free by putting behind that sin? And what does being a man truly even mean? James is only sure of one thing… When you enter a lion pride, you leave your own pride behind.
The author says:
“Pride is popularly described as the biggest sin, and it often comes with downfall. Unfortunately, the patriarchal nature of society seems to have encouraged pride, especially in men. However, several conditions can bring out the humility in even the proudest of men, which was the case of the protagonist James, after he decided to go on a hunting safari.
“The experience, as narrated in my novel exposed James to another side of life he never knew existed. The encounter brings him to the realisation that society has always spun tales about men that no man can live up to while showing him what it really means to be a man.”
‘Pride’ is available now in paperback (£9) and Kindle format(£4) on Amazon at:
About the author:
Mark Howells is currently based in Cardiff, South Wales and works in helping people with drug and alcohol addictions get their lives back on track. After a lifelong passion for psychotherapy, Mark decided he would put his knowledge toward empowering people, particularly troubled men who often get overlooked. After working for six months on a life-changing experience of rehabilitating rescued lions back to the wild in Zambia, Africa, Mark had an epiphany about toxic masculinity in our culture. Combining his knowledge of psychology and encounters with lions, Mark created a fictional work that actually aims to offer hope and resilience to his readers.
Photo of author and book cover courtesy of Publisher