Cover Image: Animal Spirit

Animal Spirit

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Member Reviews

Animal Spirit by Francesca Marciano is a beautiful little gem filled with short stories inspired from life. I particularly found the one about Teo in the New Mexican desert to be totally heartbreaking. It reminded me of someone I once knew. Sometimes you just can’t help anymore.
Thank you to the publisher for the opportunity to read and advanced copy!!
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Lovely book, written with heart and soul. Can't wait to read more from this author.  I wish more animals were throughout the stories but still enjoyed this regardless.
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Animal Spirit is a collection of 6 short stories. Marciano’s characters are imperfect and real, unlike characters written for fictional purposes, they are flawed and visceral. The emotional parts are brilliantly imagined with animal characteristics. These are short stories, so don’t expect a definite start and end point. They make the reader think and feel!! The synopsis made this sound like a magical realism story, but it wasn’t which was a disappointment for me, because I love realism stories/novels. I have to check out more of Marciano’s works

Thank you Pantheon/Double day books and Netgalley for the arc in exchange for an honest opinion.
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this was a really enjoyable read, the characters were great and I really enjoyed going on this journey. I look forward to more from the author.
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I loved this book. I don’t normally go for story collections, but I really like Francesa Marciano’s writing, and ‘Animal Spirit’ plays well to her strengths. Marciano writes superbly about relationships, and the fraught emotions that travel on new adventures with each human pairing. And with non-human pairings, too. The animals who appear in these pages catalyze the drama, and also evoke the animalistic urges and reactions within humans. Her first book ‘Rules of the Wild’ had the best title, but ‘Animal Spirit’ shows an even more skilled writer at work. Highly recommended.
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This is a lovely collection of short stories. Marciano's character development is great - these are real flawed human characters, facing very relatable dilemmas. I also really admire her range, as the 6 stories in the collection are all very distinct from on another, and each have their own unique characters and plots and landscapes and descriptions.

When I saw the blurb for this book I thought it would be very magical realism/surrealist which is not my thing, but i was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t! Animals play a smaller role in this book than i would have expected for a book of this title: the animals just kind of form a backdrop in this book, and act as nice symbols/metaphors within the each story. 

I generally enjoy Marciano’s writing style, it’s clear and accessible but her descriptions are still quite vivid. But there are definitely some bits that could be more polished e.g. some stories have a bit of a weird plot structure and jump between characters a lot; some endings are a bit cliche.

This wasn’t a “changed my life” short story collection but it did remind me how much i enjoy the genre!!
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Loved, loved every short story in Animal Spirit. Francesca Marciano is a talented writer. This is such an elegantly written book. Joy and heartache are  handled with an unsentimental pen, and touch your senses with human understanding.  

Read it, even if short stories isn't your usual fare
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Six spellbinding stories are in Author #Francesca Marciano’s new novel  ‘#Animal Spirit ‘.They chronicle 
deeply human moments of realization and recognition, indelible instants I’d irrevocable change- epiphanies sometimes sparked by our connection with animals and the primal power they show us.
She has many other books also that look so fascinating. So when your done with this wonderful novel you might take a look.
Thank you,
#Netgalley, #Francesca Marciano and #Penguin Random House
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I adore short story collections, especially ones like Animal Spirit that seem bound together by specific themes. Each story builds on the next, perhaps not with the same characters, but by developing a feeling or a message, until, by the end of the collection it is almost a rallying cry. Thanks to Knopf Doubleday and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The title story of Animal Spirit concerns a group of friends, made up of two couples, who go on a holiday together, where tensions slowly rise. All of this is alleviated when a little dog finds its way to them. Being able to care for something, almost selflessly, allows them to put their other worries and concerns to the side for a moment, to be better. In 'Terrible Things Could Happen to Us' Marciano shows us the end of a relationship from the perspectives of multiple people involved. Through all the perspectives the true consequences of such a fall out. In 'The Girl' a young woman, who remains nameless, escapes to the circus, before escaping once again. It's a story of someone in the search for freedom and home. In each story animal imagery comes to the fore to help highlight unspoken themes. In 'There Might Be Blood' aggressive seagulls and swooping falcons battle it out as a woman considers her marriage and life. In 'The Girl' a giant albino python is both constrictive and liberating. 

Marciano's stories stuck with me for a long time after I finished Animal Spirit, in a large part because she so effortlessly creates moments that shine. A mother and her daughters, waiting at the dinner table for her boyfriend to show up. A middle-aged woman in an Italian palazzo. A girl writhed in snakes in  a circus tent. These images came across so strongly that sometimes they almost overpowered the rest of the stories. But all the stories have strong themes as well, that mostly come through by the end. I will definitely be looking out for future stories and collections by Francesca Marciano.

I greatly enjoyed reading Animal Spirit, which contains nicely crafted stories about conflicts and, hopefully, growth.
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What an amazing collection of stories.  This was a joy to read.  Each story draws you in and you feel the animal spirit captured, the lure of the unknown, violence, sexuality, companionship, rage and more.  

I have not previously spent a lot of time reading a lot of short story compilations, but I am glad I have read this one and encourage you to take the time to read this one too.
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Book review: Much about humanity in 'Animal Spirit' a powerful, clear-eyed collection
By ASHLEY RIGGLESON FOR THE FREE LANCE–STAR Jun 20, 2020 


I was not sure what to expect going into Francesca Marciano’s new short story collection, “Animal Spirit.” The title led me to believe that animals would not be minor figures, and I was not disappointed. But this short story collection is so much more than what I expected, and it surprised me with its power. I am stunned that I had never heard of Francesca Marciano before, and I think it is time we put her name on the map.

First, it is worth mentioning that while animals play a key role in this collection and often help to develop the stories’ plots and characters, Marciano seems to be equally interested in power dynamics in sexual relationships. Though the plots of the stories are each very different from each other, she uses all of these constructs to show that our sexual relationships are not as balanced as we would like to think, and that which partner has more power depends on a variety of factors.

Each of her stories engage a nuanced discussion about how outer factors, such as the socio-economic class, mental health, or the family situations of one or both partners impact the relationship. And while these stories are not connected, certain common themes give this collection a more cohesive feel than most short story collections can achieve.


As our protagonists navigate their complex romantic dilemmas, encounters with animals often pivot the stories in different directions, impacting the characters’ feelings and decisions. And Marciano uses this device to make a poignant point about the interconnectedness of all things, showing that while we are often caught up in our own struggles, there is more to life than our individual joys and sorrows.

As with most short story collections, the quality is not consistent throughout, and while I would say that all of the stories are technically very sophisticated, I connected particularly well with three of the stories, and I am certain, that Marciano’s astute and heartrending exploration of madness in “Indian Land” will stay with me forever. She is such a clear-eyed writer, showing with particular skill and compassion what makes her characters tick, and though these stories can ostensibly be said to be “about animals,” they are, in truth, about us—about all of the lovely and terrible things that make us human.
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These short stories pack a lot of punch, as the plots are well developed and the narrative is interesting.  I liked how women on the brink of change were the main characters.
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"Animal Spirit" is a collection of five short stories by Italian author Francesca Marciano. The stories are set primarily in Italy and deal with primarily domestic topics with a special emphasis on cheating spouses, and the stories themselves each have an animal presence that influences the protagonist.

Overall, this is a really solid short story collection. All of the stories are very well done and a joy to read which is rare in a short story collection. Each story creates rich and complex characters beautifully and quickly while moving the plot along at a brisk pace; "Indian Land" stands out as a story that is especially moving and captivating. This was an enjoyable read, and I highly recommend this collection to anyone looking for stories that explore the human experience with grace.
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I have read and loved all but one of the authors books, always giving us a hard look at the realities of life, and the frailty of the human spirit.
I normally do not go for short stories as I find it is hard to get a thorough read on the characters, but in this case I found it interesting to she how she developed the stories, keeping us guessing and how the animals in the stories, to me, became a catalyst for change in one of her characters.
A great mix of scenarios and places, to bring her stories to reality. 
I really enjoyed the book and cannot wait for something more from this author.
I absolutely love the cover of this book.
 I would like to thank NetGalley and Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group for a copy of this book.
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Fans of short stories will relish this collection of six.  They have various settings which are vividly described but all feature animals, if only in cameo.  Each story involves a character on the precipice of change.  It's a slim volume but perfect to keep by your bedside-read them one at a time.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.
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A lovely collection of short stories with a very European feel. I’m not typically a fan of story collections, so I’m always surprised to enjoy one!
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A overall great book. I loved all the stories and the fact it has international settings. It was a fun read. I would def recommend it!
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Haunting. Real. Powerful. Disturbing. The kind of stories that make you reflect on what you just read. The writing is beautiful, but something was missing for me. And I can not put my finger on it.
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This was a solid collection of stories, filled with relatable characters facing relatable dilemmas. I enjoyed the international settings, the author's descriptive powers and the compelling nature of the conflict each character is working through. In places, these stories felt a little unfinished and the prose a little unpolished so it wasn't my favourite book from Marciano.  I'd still recommend it for those who like realistic short stories without the kind of magically realism that is prevalent in so many short story collections today.
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Gorgeous book of stories.Characters tales that transported from my reading chair to exotic places and storylines.A book I will be highly recommending.#netgalley animalspirit
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