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English Animals

English Animals

‘A beautiful and bold debut’ M.J. Hyland, author of the Man Booker-shortlisted Carry Me Down

It’s a long time since I’ve enjoyed any debut novel as much as English Animals. Its command of tone, narrative and character is so assured, and both its wit and perceptiveness about a certain kind of English life make it a joy to read’ Amanda Craig

English Animals is a brilliantly assured debut that fans of Nina Stibbe’s writing will love.

I opened my mouth to say something but she ran up the steps and into the house. I had imagined arriving at the house so many times, but it was never like this. I realised I knew nothing about these people. Richard and Sophie sounded like good names for good people. But they could be anything, they could be completely crazy.

When Mirka gets a job in a country house in rural England, she has no idea of the struggle she faces to make sense of a very English couple, and a way of life that is entirely alien to her. Richard and Sophie are chaotic, drunken, frequently outrageous but also warm, generous and kind to Mirka, despite their argumentative and turbulent marriage.

Mirka is swiftly commandeered by Richard for his latest money-making enterprise, taxidermy, and soon surpasses him in skill. After a traumatic break two years ago with her family in Slovakia, Mirka finds to her surprise that she is happy at Fairmont Hall. But when she tells Sophie that she is gay, everything she values is put in danger and she must learn the hard way what she really believes in.

English Animals is a funny, subversive, poignant and beautifully written novel about a doomed love affair, a certain kind of Englishness and prejudice.
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Genre: Fiction & Related Items / Modern & Contemporary Fiction (post C 1945)

On Sale: 12th January 2017

Price: £16.99

ISBN-13: 9781408708231

Reviews

A beautiful and bold debut
M.J. Hyland, author of the Man Booker-shortlisted Carry Me Down
[A] confident novel that engages with love, belonging, prejudice and, above all, quintessential Englishness
Daily Mail
[A] wry and knowing debut
Stylist
Better than a burst of February sunshine, this is a pitch-perfect story . . . A bubble of pleasurable reading
Sainsbury's Magazine
Kaye offers an engrossing look at the English countryside, complex in friendship, love, violence and with a touch of mystery. Chronicling a Slovakian immigrant's story in the UK, English Animals is an important novel in an uncertain time. Don't be fooled by the spare, quiet prose; Kaye and her characters will do cartwheels over your expectations
Sara Novic, author of Girl At War
Kaye's satire usually hits the mark, coming at the expense of rural gastropubs with names like The Snooty Fox, as well as the world of hipster taxidermy (Mirka starts assembling Dazed and Confused-friendly scenes called things like 'Freelance squirrels' and 'Rats at an office party') . . . Kaye is at her best when she sticks with her scalpel. It's good to see British writers still know how to use it
Daily Telegraph, 'New Year, New Voices' picks of best debuts of 2017
Shades of Cold Comfort Farm . . . Kaye has a keen eye for social observation . . . charming
Lucy Scholes, Observer
[A] quirky debut novel
Clare Clark, The Guardian
It's a long time since I've enjoyed any debut novel as much as English Animals. Its command of tone, narrative and character is so assured, and both its wit and perceptiveness about a certain kind of English life make it a joy to read. I am sure it will win several prizes. I loved the taxidermy ideas and details, and how beautifully they chimed with the human animal scenes presented. The dreadful marriage, the horrific father and above all Mirka herself with her courageous honesty and kindness make this something very special
Amanda Craig