I drove myself out of New York City where a man shot himself in front of me. He was a gluttonous man and when his blood came out it looked like the blood of a pig.
That’s a cruel thing to think, I know. He did it in a restaurant where I was having dinner with another man, another married man.
Do you see how this is going? But I wasn’t always that way.
I am depraved. I hope you like me.
Joan sees a man shoot himself. She is on a date in a restaurant at the time, when her secret lover enters and takes out his gun. The grizzly experience propels her to California, where she tracks down a woman named Alice, and on this journey we get to know who Joan really is, all that she has survived and endured. I can’t say much more as I don’t want to give anything away. But buckle in because you are in for quite a ride.
Joan is a hugely complex, multi-faceted character. As this book is written in first person, we’re given a very intimate, personal perspective of her life. We know her thoughts and feelings, the worst and best things she has ever done but I still felt a distance from her, as if Joan was keeping me at that distance herself. And as the story progressed, she let me closer. She is an puzzle. A wonderfully rich, striking character you cannot stop thinking about, however hard you might try.
The writing is edgy, sharp as a blade. The author’s prose can go from both cutting and shocking to tender and bittersweet within moments, and it is wildly compulsive. Her prose has a nuance that is rare. Rage, abuse, substance abuse, rape, death, loss, are all subjects the author touches upon. But we are also given themes such as hope, self-discovery, self-healing, feminism, love and acceptance. At times it can be very upsetting but never does it lose its remarkable power. This is an open and fearless book. It is a tempest of female emotion, and it is both beautiful and brutal.
Fierce, sexy, compelling, compulsive, Animal is a fascinating and breath-taking novel. I guarantee you won’t be able to stop thinking about it.
Publishing 24th June
Available in hardback, ebook and audiobook! To preorder your copy, you can follow the links below:
About the Author
Lisa Taddeo spent eight years and thousands of hours tracking the women whose stories comprise Three Women, moving to the towns they lived in to better understand their lives. She has contributed to New York Magazine, Esquire, Elle, Glamour and many other publications. She has won two Pushcart Prizes for her short stories, one of which, ‘Suburban Weekend’, was also selected as a favourite piece of 2017 by Granta. She lives with her husband and daughter in New England.
With thanks to Georgina, Midas PR and Bloomsbury for my ARC, which I received in exchange for an honest review!