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A Loving, Faithful Animal: A Novel Paperback – September 12, 2017
"The Lost Girls of Devon" by Barbara O'Neal
From the Washington Post and Amazon Charts bestselling author of When We Believed in Mermaids comes a story of four generations of women grappling with family betrayals and long-buried secrets. | Learn more
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"A slim beauty . . . I found myself considering those rare things only books can do, feats outside the purview of film or fine art . . . A work of such well-defined characters, each so carefully drawn as to breathe, and a work so full of stark emotional moments . . . Gorgeous, precise language encourages inner storms . . . Like the best of Breece D'J Pancake or W.G. Sebald, Rowe plants small moments from history as a soldier might bury landmines." ―Samantha Hunt, The New York Times Book Review
"A heartbreaking and memorable hero. . . . A rich, kaleidoscopic depiction of inherited trauma in stunning prose." ―Kirkus Reviews
"Rowe’s richly interiorized characterizations and muscular prose, of the condensed and economic variety that manages to say a lot with a little, herald her exciting U.S. entrée." ―Booklist
"Stunning, gorgeously written . . . While the presence of pain never leaves this story, the beauty and compassion with which it's told, the deep understanding of the fierce love and shared toxicity that bind families together, makes the pain bearable, makes it important to bear witness to this tragic, gorgeously wrought story." ―Kristin Iverson, Nylon
"[A] devastating piece of literature crafted by an exceptionally talented writer who tears the lives of her characters asunder and then charts their path back together. . . . Rowe is, and this can’t be said enough, a remarkable writer. Her prose is a mixture of Denis Johnson’s tough guy prattle and the deft, character painting of Stephen King." ―East Bay Review
“Exquisite.” ―The Millions, “The Millions Most Anticipated”
“A subtle and haunting meditation on childhood, escape, the bonds and the limits of family, and the long reach of trauma. Rowe is a serious talent, and her debut novel is both gorgeous and stunning.” —Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven
“A Loving, Faithful Animal lured me in with astonishing, poetic prose, and a glimpse of an Australia I don’t always see in fiction. But the true thrill of the novel is the carousel of haunting characters Josephine Rowe creates with unbelievable precision. An unflinching look at the ways we fail the people we love, at the cruelty of family, its toxicity, and beauty. The book is a deep, multi-faceted portrait of the inheritance of damage, one that left me aching and inspired.” —Stephanie Danler, New York Times bestselling author of Sweetbitter
"Josephine Rowe writes like someone who, having been quiet a long time, has thought carefully and viciously about what must be said. In this flinty debut, Rowe fashions a string of refractory surfaces―the family members of a veteran―to remind us just how far, into love and time, the atrocity of war will reach." ―Kathleen Alcott, author of Infinite Home
"A slim novel packed with delicious prose, easy to lose yourself in and hard to leave behind." ―Amelia Gray, author of Gutshot
"One of the smarter, most lyrically written stories you’ll read about a fracturing family." ―Library Journal
“Rowe’s language is trance-inducing. Do right by yourself, nest down and prepare to be swept away by these characters, their respective dilapidations, in this mesmerizing, incandescent novel. Masterful.” —Brendan Jones, author of The Alaskan Laundry
“Deft, lyrical and deeply moving.” —Wayne Macauley, author of The Cook
“With poetic prose, Josephine Rowe creates a memorable cast of characters.” —World Literature Today
“A compelling and singular emotional experience … Haunting … Rowe makes it clear from the first paragraph of this clenched, resolute study of family damage that sentiment has no place here. She will reveal something harder and truer.” —Kate Holden, Australian Book Review
“Rowe's much-anticipated debut novel dives into the heart of a family attempting to salvage themselves from the scars of the past. Brutal and tender, this is a dark domestic drama battling with the wreckage of the Vietnam War.” —Robert Bound, Monocle magazine
Praise for Josephine Rowe
Winner of the 2016 Elizabeth Jolley Prize
“Rowe’s stories are potent machines of emotion, miraculous for the human vastness they sound by the sparest and surest of means.” —Wells Tower, author of Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned
“Spectacular . . . when I read her stories of drifting, of heartbreak and aftermath and travel and displacement, it seems to me that ‘where is home?’ is the underlying question. For some of us, there’s no clear answer to that question. In our work, we can only continue to ask, and, in Rowe’s work, the asking is both graceful and profound.” —Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven
About the Author
- Paperback : 176 pages
- ISBN-13 : 978-1936787579
- Item Weight : 8 ounces
- Publisher : Catapult (September 12, 2017)
- Product dimensions : 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,492,760 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Rowe does a superb job of giving each section of the novel its own distinct voice--she does this, in part, by creating formal parameters (tense, person) that allow the reader to clearly and easily distinguish the various points of view. At the same time, there is an overarching unity--these don't feel like five different stories--that I think comes from the consistent investment in fragmentation, memory, charged detail, and associative thinking.
The alternating POVs allow the story to slowly unfurl and reveal itself, and allow the reader to participate in the density of family life, its layers of secret-keeping, and also its interplay of rage and tenderness--as for example when Lani experiences an unexpected moment of compassion for her exhausted, combative mother upon returning from a calamitous New Year's.
Rowe clearly knows this world and this story inside out, and she writes with unstinting authority about the landscape and weather and vegetation; about the clothes and domestic objects; about the characters and their histories and secrets. She has a phenomenal gift for endowing objects with huge emotional significance: the animal-faced eggs, for instance, standing in for parental love and loyalty, or the transparency hymns as symbols of Uncle Tetch's (sorry, Les's) imperfect belief.
Overall I was swept along by the force and authority of language in each section. Josephine Rowe is an incredibly gifted writer, and this novel deserves the widest possible readership.