Animal Bodies

On Death, Desire, and Other Difficulties

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Pub Date 01 Mar 2022 | Archive Date 28 Feb 2022

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Description

How do we reckon with our losses? In Animal Bodies Suzanne Roberts explores the link between death and desire and what it means to accept our own animal natures, the parts we most often hide, deny, or consider only with shame—our taboo desires and our grief. In landscapes as diverse as Salamanca’s cobbled streets, the Mekong River’s floating markets, Fire Island’s windswept beaches, Nashville’s honky-tonks, and the Sierra Nevada’s snowy slopes, Roberts interrogates her memory and tries to make sense of her own private losses (deaths of people and relationships), as well as more public losses, including a mass shooting in her hometown and environmental devastation in the Amazon rainforest.

With lyricism, insight, honesty, and dark humor, these essays illuminate the sometimes terrible beauty of what it means to be human, deepening the conversation on death and grief, sexuality, and the shame that comes from surviving the world in a female body with all of its complexities.

How do we reckon with our losses? In Animal Bodies Suzanne Roberts explores the link between death and desire and what it means to accept our own animal natures, the parts we most often hide, deny...


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ISBN 9781496231024
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Featured Reviews

It felt like I'd fallen under a spell as I read this book. Roberts weaves stories into powerful insights that honor the complexities of life. She's also darkly funny. The subtitle "Death, Desire and Other Difficulties" covers a wide swath of issues. The ones that most resonated with me were her relationship to her mother (and her mother's past and death), her observations of the way we treat "Animal Bodies" and women's bodies, and how political divides can affect longtime friendships. Favorite lines: "I'm always happier wearing travel's cloak of anonymity." "All life leads to death, so why is it impossible to imagine?" Thank you to NetGalley for the advanced copy.

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Animal Bodies to me was a very personal book to read. I was reading and seeing the vulnerabilities and life experiences of Suzanne Roberts, someone I have never met, and yet was able to feel the same things I have in periods of my life. Experiences like grief, which people handle differently, and experiencing losses, were where I connected the most with Animal Bodies. I have never read a book like this before and I'm glad that I did because Suzanne Roberts made me feel like it was okay to grieve and to reflect on that time, it makes you understand what you were going through as you read how someone else went through their own.

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This was an absolutely stunning read. I couldn't put it down, so I stayed up all night reading it from the couch. I even missed an eclipse that was happening outside, because I was so enthralled. The prose and lyricism is delicious, the narrator so adept at weaving together these disparate threads and memories. This is my kind of essay collection, and as a writer, it made me want to write—which is about the highest praise I can give to a book. Thank you for writing this gorgeous, complicated collection.

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