Animal Person


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Pub Date 05 Apr 2022 | Archive Date Not set


The highly anticipated new book of short fiction from the O. Henry Prize winner Alexander MacLeod—a magnificent collection about the needs, temptations, and tensions that exist just beneath the surface of our lives.

Startling, suspenseful, and deeply humane, yet alert to the undertow of our darker instincts, the eight stories in Animal Person illuminate what it means to exist in the perilous space between desire and action, and to have your faith in what you hold true buckle and give way.

A petty argument between two sisters is interrupted by an unexpected visitor. Adjoining motel rooms connect a family on the brink of a new life with a criminal whose legacy will haunt them for years to come. A connoisseur of other people’s secrets is undone by what he finds in a piece of lost luggage. In the wake of a tragic accident, a young man must contend with what is owed to the living and to the dead. And in the O. Henry Prize–winning story “Lagomorph,” a man’s relationship with his family’s long-lived pet rabbit opens up to become a profound exploration of how a marriage fractures.

Muscular and tender, beautifully crafted, and alive with an elemental power, these stories explore the struggle for meaning and connection in an age when many of us feel cut off from so much, not least ourselves. This is a collection that beats with raw emotion and shimmers with the complexity of our shared human experience, and it confirms Alexander MacLeod’s reputation as a modern master of the short story.

The highly anticipated new book of short fiction from the O. Henry Prize winner Alexander MacLeod—a magnificent collection about the needs, temptations, and tensions that exist just beneath the...

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ISBN 9780374602222
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Featured Reviews

Thanks to Netgalley and FSG for the ebook. This is a wonderful book of short stories where the author finds the extraordinary in the mundane, everyday world. A young couple wait for two days with their child in a motel before they can move into their new house. Two years later they watch the news and see that the nice man in the room next to their own was a serial killer. A man haunts the airport so that he can steal luggage from incoming flight so that he can feel the lives lived through the contents inside before he returns them. Fun stories that always seem to take a turn that keeps you glued to the page.

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I love short stories and it's stories like this which give a proper insight of ourselves as well as how we handle things differently.
The stories have a common theme related to animals or animal like theme but each story studies us human revealing our insecurities and the things we do. Eight short stories in all. Absolutely enjoyed the writing and the stories.

The best part common to all the stories: the suspense in each story. You will keep searching for an answer in each. And it's quite satisfying to read stories like this!

1. Lagomorph 4 🌟
*Now rabbits will haunt me forever*

2. The Dead Want 3 🌟
*You need to find me* chills!

3. What Exactly Do You Think You're Looking At? 4 🌟
Well written.

4. Everything Underneath 4 🌟
One of the best.

5. The Entertainer 4 🌟
*Music gets threatening*

6. The Ninth Concession 4 🌟
*Almost a nightmare*

7. Once Removed 3 🌟

8. The Closing Gate 4 🌟
*One of my favourites*

Go for this collection. A good one sitting read.

Thank you, Farrar Straus and Giroux and the author, for the advance reading copy.

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A pretty solid collection of stories. While connected by animals, the stories are of course really about the humans. MacLead writes well, and I suspect a lot of short story fans, and others, will like this.

I really appreciate the free ARC for review!!

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Further examples of my observation that when all elements are strong, a collection of short fiction can be more immersive and challenging than a novel of equal length. Each of these eight stories pulled me in, had me totally involved, was complete in execution and content. Unlike slice of life stories that leave abruptly, making the reader form their own conclusion about the outcome, these stories are whole, satisfying. In a recent interview, he cites his father as inspiration in particular as well as story writers from the Atlantic Provinces but most especially Irish authors. I totally agree with his assessment that they "... have worked the genre better than anyone,"... I look forward to seeking out MacLeod's earlier work as well as that of his father, Alistair MacLeod.

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This wonderful collection reinforces the reputation of Macleod, who has already won the O'Henry award, Each of the 8 stories is a complete tale unto itself. And yes, there are animals (oh that rabbit) but the animals aren't the focus or a link, In fact this collection unlike some is best read one at a time over a period of days to fully appreciate what you've just experienced. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC,. Terrific.

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Extremely thankful to NetGalley and Farrar, Straus and Giroux for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Animal Person is a great collection of short stories by author Alexander MacLeod. It displays eight stories that range from some weird situations/characters to existentialist rabbit (hehe) holes that dig into the most profound of your psyque. I found the first half very interesting but with some vital element missing, and to this day I am still thinking about what was it... but can not come with anything. Maybe some depth? I don´t know. But what lacked the first half, I found on the second one. The characters felt less still and the writing smoother which I appreciated very much. In general terms, this collection is a high quality one and can not be missed by anyone who is into short stories and top tier writing.

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There’s a certain reading process that I expect to engage in with my favourite short fiction — my acceptance of the initial set up followed by a swerve that upends my expectations — and Alexander MacLeod writes just these kinds of well-crafted and thoughtful short stories that, rather than feeling like truncated novels, are perfect little pearls of insight that couldn’t be told any other way. The eight stories in Animal Person each center on absolutely believable characters who probe the boundaries between themselves and others — exploring the differences between public and private, between family and outsider, even between animal and person — and as the characters are forced to learn something about themselves, the reader glimpses truths about the world. And they couldn’t have been told any other way. A wonderful collection that perfectly satisfied me.

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For the sake of full disclosure: I am not related to Alexander MacLeod (at least as far as I know). Too bad, however; to have such a talented writer in the family would be wonderful.

At first, the stories in this anthology start off subdued, effective and clear; but, then as it continues, MacLeod provides powerful works of art one after the other saving the best for last...a serial killer story called "The Closing Date," which is a scary masterpiece about a family that encounters what is seemingly a nice man who loves children, but ends up being a brutal criminal that murdered someone only feet away from them, in the room next door at a random motel. I also was impressed by "What Exactly Do You Think You're Looking At?" about a man who is "not like other people," (although vague, the best way to explain it), and "Everything Underneath," about two siblings who have a run in with a massive aquatic animal nearer to the end of the story.

Extremely impressive, I would recommend this work to just about anyone who asks.

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