The Memory of Animals

You must sign in to see if this title is available for request.
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app

To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date 06 Jun 2023 | Archive Date 31 May 2023

Talking about this book? Use #TheMemoryofAnimals #NetGalley. More hashtag tips!


From the award-winning author of Our Endless Numbered Days, Swimming Lessons, Bitter Orange, and Unsettled Ground comes a beautiful and searing novel of memory, love, survival—and octopuses.

In the face of a pandemic, an unprepared world scrambles to escape the mysterious disease causing sensory damage, nerve loss, and, in most cases, death. Neffy, a disgraced and desperately indebted twenty-seven-year-old marine biologist, registers for an experimental vaccine trial in London—perhaps humanity’s last hope for a cure. Though isolated from the chaos outside, she and the other volunteers—Rachel, Leon, Yahiko, and Piper—cannot hide from the mistakes that led them there.

As London descends into chaos outside the hospital windows, Neffy befriends Leon, who before the pandemic had been working on a controversial technology that allows users to revisit their memories. She withdraws into projections of her past—a childhood bisected by divorce, a recent love affair, her obsessive research with octopuses and the one mistake that ended her career. The lines between past, present, and future begin to blur, and Neffy is left with defining questions: Who can she trust? Why can’t she forgive herself? How should she live, if she survives?

Claire Fuller’s The Memory of Animals is an ambitious, deeply imagined work of survival and suspense, grief and hope, consequences and connectedness that asks what truly defines us—and the lengths we will go to rescue ourselves and those we love.

About the Author: Claire Fuller is the author of Our Endless Numbered Days, which won the Desmond Elliott Prize; Swimming Lessons; Bitter Orange; and Unsettled Ground, which won the Costa Novel Award and was a finalist for the Women's Prize for Fiction. She has an MA in Creative and Critical Writing from the University of Winchester and lives in Hampshire with her husband.

From the award-winning author of Our Endless Numbered Days, Swimming Lessons, Bitter Orange, and Unsettled Ground comes a beautiful and searing novel of memory, love, survival—and octopuses.

In the...

Advance Praise

"Haunting and unsettling, moving and thoughtful—with horror lurking at the edges—this is a subtle, elegant novel, an interesting and unusual take on the meaning of pandemic. Claire Fuller is a huge talent." - Lucy Atkins, author of Magpie Lane

"Claire Fuller is such an interesting and original writer and takes on complex themes with such a cool, clear eye. In The Memory of Animals she has produced another literary page-turner. The collision between altruism and the survival instinct at the heart of the book is brilliantly dramatized and her disturbing vision of post-pandemic moral collapse is compulsive and thoroughly convincing. Terrific!" - Claire Chambers, author of Small Pleasures

"Haunting and unsettling, moving and thoughtful—with horror lurking at the edges—this is a subtle, elegant novel, an interesting and unusual take on the meaning of pandemic. Claire Fuller is a huge...

Available Editions

EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9781953534873
PRICE $27.95 (USD)

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (PDF)
Send to Kindle (PDF)
Download (PDF)

Average rating from 14 members

Featured Reviews

Set against the backdrop of a global pandemic, The Memory of Animals asks pertinent questions about freedom and responsibility: examining not only how we treat one another but how we treat the other creatures of the Earth. Weaving together three narrative threads (one in the present day and two from the past), author Claire Fuller maintains tension by dangling mysteries that don’t get untangled until the very end, and I was glued to the page — both wanting those answers and savouring the ride. This is more than a COVID novel — even if many of the situations will feel familiar to the reader — and like all good fiction, it drills down on what it means to be human; what it means to be humane.

Was this review helpful?

“Working with Claire Fuller is one of the great joys of my career. With each book, I learn something new, visit, a unique world, meet unforgettable characters, and I am always left, wanting to share Claire‘s work with everyone I know. The Memory of Animals, our fifth book together, is no exception. Claire has delivered a tight and steering novel set in the near future about a woman who— motivated by secrets and mistakes and her past— joins and experimental drug trial that might be humanity’s last hope to cure a new devastating disease. When I first encounter the story, I shared with Claire, but it was like anything I had ever read.— but if pressed, it would require a mashup: Sequoia Nagamatsu’s How High We Go in the Dark meets The Breakfast Club meets My Octopus Teacher”.
……*part* of the editor’s notes—(there is more)— and as a reader, I appreciate the way we are set up to begin this story!
— thank you, Masie Cochran

I’m a long time passionate fan of Claire Fuller. She is literally one of my favorite authors.
I want to drop everything to read what she writes.

Other books I read by Claire:
….Endless Numbered Days
….Swimming Lessons
….Bitter Orange
….Unsettled Ground
and a 15 minute free discussion audiobook about ‘Swimming Lessons’.

I was sooo excited to begin ‘Memory of Animals.
It was so visual for me - I was already casting the characters for the Netflix series.

It begins with a letter …..
“dearesT h.
“Is it possible to fall in love at
twelve? With an octopus? I met him in the Ionian Sea when I was snorkeling at the beach, for my father had his hotel. I’d like to think he loved me back as you maybe did too. I wonder often where you are and how you’re doing. Are you dead or alive? Was it wrong, what I did? And is it better to live a small life, contained an enclosed where everything is provided, and the unexpected rarely happens? As a safe flight. Or one where you swim out into the unknown and risk everything. I chose for you, since the choice wasn’t yours to make. But, I wanted to write to apologize and ask your forgiveness to explain myself”

Neffy is no longer twelve years old. I wondered ‘for awhile’, though as to how old she was - and what she was asking forgiveness for.
We learn right away that she has volunteered for an experimental vaccine study that had never once been tried on humans. She would be in a hospital— isolated in her room —for three weeks.
I’m going to be a good-girl here and not over describe this book ….
It’s sooooo tempting for me ….
I’ll only share a few things ….then shut my trap.
There’s the pandemic….people were dying. The virus [Dropsy virus] was spreading everywhere; people were terrified.
Dropsy caused a range of symptoms….including swelling of some organs, nerve damage, and sensory damage.
….the first human challenge trail took healthy volunteers between the ages of eighteen and thirty. They would be exposed to the virus in a safe controlled environment at a secret location while doctors monitored their health around the clock….
“Sorry, something has gone wrong”

Besides Neffy…..we meet the other volunteers: Leon, Yahiko, Rachel, and Piper.
There ‘is’ a “Breakfast Club” feeling in this novel….
and so much more > to explore & contemplate……(about humanity, evolution, morality, survival, freedom, and love) …..while revisiting of past memories…..
plus…. the wonderful inserts about octopuses, ocean creatures that are most famous for having eight arms and bulbous heads.

I loved the book …..I’m simply in heaven when reading Claire Fuller’s books…..(each one so different)….yet each one has elements of mystery, controversy, and suspense without being overly dramatic.
Claire always taps deeply into my cerebral brain and my emotional heart.

I didn’t see the ending coming….Left me with thoughts…..and it will others!
I suppose it’s best said that the ending is bittersweet

And most….I really loved reading “The Memory of Animals”
Congrats Claire!!! Beautifully written and ambitious novel.
Thank you Netgalley and Tin House

Was this review helpful?

An intense, beautiful, thrilling and all too real story set in a hospital in London.

As a pandemic circles the world, Neffy, a struggling marine biologist volunteers to be a test subject for a potential cure in a hospital in London. Her family and friends are very much against her plan and she does her best to relay their fears as they text one another while the world shuts down.

With little to do inside, Neffy befriends the motley crew of volunteers and finds that one of them (Leon) has created an invention that allows users to relive their memories. Neffy slowly begins to use the program more and more and retreat from the real world and the impending doom.

The end of this brilliant speculative fiction is not to be missed! If you love pandemic stories, dystopia, human error or just want to learn more about the incredible octopi that Neffy studied, The Memory Of Animals is for you!
#TinHouse #theMemoryofAnimals #ClaireFuller

Was this review helpful?

I was very excited to receive an ARC of Claire Fuller’s latest book set to be released in April 2023. I find this author to be one of the most unique and creative out there and I have enjoyed all of her past books. The Memory of Animals did not disappoint. There was an octopus (there have recently been so many books and movies about this fascinating animal!), a pandemic, relationships, suspense, and difficult decisions to be made. I was pulled in from the start and could not put it down! You will think and feel with this book! Although it had some dystopian qualities, it was not as far-fetched as to not be believable (even my own altered perception of what could be believable during a pandemic is a bit mind-blowing). I can’t wait for more people to read it so that we can discuss the ending!

Thank you very much to NetGalley and Tin House for the advanced reader’s copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Was this review helpful?

I originally requested an arc of The Memory of Animals because I recently read Bitter Orange and was BLOWN AWAY by the story. It was my first Claire Fuller book and immediately became a top 10 book of all time for me so I was THRILLED when I saw that I was approved for this book.

Right from the jump, it was clear that this was a Claire Fuller novel. I was expecting (hoping) to like it, yes, but I wasn't sure if I would since I had only read one book by her and I didn't know if she might have just been a one-hit wonder. Like Bitter Orange, this book is INCREDIBLE. It's a little bit strange, really interesting and like Bitter Orange has a strong focus on relationships. I can't speak about her other books, but when it comes to RELATIONSHIPS, this is where Claire Fuller SHINES. Nobody does it better.

Reading this was somewhat surreal for me since the last 3 years has felt like living in a dystopian hellscape, and on top of that I have been watching The Last Of Us, AND, I am a long COVID survivor. Due to that unholy trinity I wasn't sure if I was going to be burned out on a pandemic novel, but it was Claire Fuller so I said screw it and crossed my fingers hoping it would be worth whatever emotional toll it took on me. Spoiler: IT WAS FANTASTIC!!!

Neffy's story was absolutely unnerving BUT the book was never over the top scary. This book is a solid 4.75/5 stars and I would absolutely recommend this without hesitation to fans of Claire Fuller's previous works, and/or fans of dystopian novels..

Like Bitter Orange, The Memory of Animals is an extremely beautifully written novel that I will be purchasing in hard copy as soon as it is released. Cannot wait to see what Claire has in store for us next!

Also, props to whoever created the beautiful artwork for the cover. Absolutely gorgeous!! I don't like having ugly books in my personal library as I treat books like pieces of art, and I will without a doubt be proud to have this displayed on my bookshelf!

Thank you again for approving me for this arc!

Was this review helpful?

Readers who liked this book also liked: