AUTHOR: Charlotte Wood
PUBLISHER: Allen & Unwin Aust
REVIEWER: Laura Hunt
AUSTRALIAN writer Charlotte Wood received praise for her previous novel The Children, and is sure to earn more with her latest book Animal People.
The book centres on Stephen, a character who is touched on in The Children, but comes to the fore in Animal People.
The story takes place over a single day, and gives readers a glimpse into Stephen's unhappy life where he works at a zoo cafe, rents a small flat and is constantly harassed by his over-bearing mother.
It's a day where everything goes wrong. He's in a relationship with a loving girlfriend but as the "ordinary day" becomes an "existential crisis" Stephen begins to see that love can be a trap as it comes with emotional baggage.
Animal People explores complex ideas about society, animals and love. Although the story is not fast-paced, it is written beautifully and portrays a complex and lonely character who you may not necessarily like but will certainly sympathise with.
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