Barsk: The Elephants’ Graveyard, by Lawrence M. Schoen

Second paragraph of third chapter:

None of that applied to Pizlo’s life.

In a future galaxy where humans are practically extinct, society continues through various races of uplifted animals, of whom the elephants – Fants for short – are exiled on their own planet, Barsk, and are both reviled by and essential to the other races. There’s some fairly obvious analogies to contemporary human societies, which at least are not signalled too virtuously, and a couple of good twists at the end. I got it because I know the author – to whom I wish swift and full recovery from recent illness – and it was nominated for the Nebula. You can get it here.

This was the top book on my unread shelf acquired in 2016. Next on that pile is Fugue for a Darkening Island, by Christopher Priest, which I have in fact previously read, but many years ago.