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Animal People

Charlotte Wood    
Availability: Out of print
Format: Paperback
Pages: 272
AUD $29.99inc. GST
Animal People


More about this book

The hilarious, tender and heartbreaking story of a watershed day in the life of Stephen - aimless, unhappy and unfulfilled, this stiflingly hot December day is the day he has decided to dump his girlfriend. A sharply observed, 24-hour urban love story.


'He could not find one single more word to say. I just want to be free. He could not say those words. They had already withered in his mind, turned to dust. He did not even know, he marvelled now, what the hell those words had meant.'

Acclaimed novelist Charlotte Wood takes a character from her bestselling book The Children and turns her unflinching gaze on him and his world in her extraordinary novel, Animal People. Set in Sydney over a single day, Animal People traces a watershed day in the life of Stephen, aimless, unhappy, unfulfilled - and without a clue as to how to make his life better.

His dead-end job, his demanding family, his oppressive feelings for Fiona and the pitiless city itself ... the great weight of it all threatens to come crashing down on him. The day will bring untold surprises and disasters, but will also show him - perhaps too late - that only love can set him free.

Sharply observed, hilarious, tender and heartbreaking, Animal People is a portrait of urban life, a meditation on the conflicted nature of human-animal relationships, and a masterpiece of storytelling. Filled with shocks of recognition and revelation, it shows a writer of great depth and compassion at work.


Winner, NSW Premier's Literary Awards - People's Choice Award, 2013
Short-listed, NSW Premier's Literary Awards - Christina Stead Prize, 2013
Short-listed, Nita B. Kibble Award, 2012
Long-listed, Miles Franlin Literary Award, 2012

Charlotte Wood has been described as 'one of the most intelligent and compassionate novelists in Australia' (The Age), and 'one of our finest and most chameleonic writers' (The Australian). Her latest work, Love & Hunger: Thoughts on the Gift of Food, is a book of contemplations on cooking. Her fourth novel, Animal People, was released in late 2011 to critical acclaim and was long-listed for the Miles Franklin Literary Award. Her earlier novels, the bestseller The Children, The Submerged Cathedral and Pieces of a Girl were shortlisted for various prize including the Miles Franklin Award and regional Commonwealth Writers' Prize.

ISBN: 9781742376851
Australian Pub.: October 2011
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Imprint: Allen & Unwin
Subject: Literary fiction
Edition Number:

'I read Charlotte Wood’s novel Animal People twice. I think it’s one of the best contemporary novels I have read. But I cannot review it. I tried a number of times and failed each time. I only recently realised why this is. I don’t want to review Animal People. I want to recommend it.' - read the rest of this piece on the Booktopia blog

'Wood is an acute observer of the extraordinariness of the ordinary. She is marvellous at writing a concrete detail in such a way that each examined moment of the novel is a written-word experience of dramatist Michael Chekhov’s Four Brothers – form, ease, beauty and a sense of the whole.'- read the rest of this review at the Overland blog

Read an interview with Charlotte Wood at the Overland blog

'Character is what drives Animal People.  Readers of The Children will remember Stephen: he is the loser, the ‘hopeless’ one, the one who dithers about going nowhere.  In a dynamic family Stephen was a drifter and he drove his siblings to distraction.  Charlotte Wood has made this character and a single day in his so-ordinary life the focus of Animal People.  Perhaps contrary to expectation, it works perfectly.' - read the rest of Lisa Hill's review at the ANZ Lit Lovers blog

'The best of literature does more than entertain, it reveals something to us about ourselves, and this certainly happened for me in reading this book.' - read the rest of this review at the Book Nerd Club

'Hilarious, tender and heartbreaking, Animal People is a skilfully written story told with great integrity and compassion.' - read the rest of this review at Fan the Pages

Listen to Charlotte Wood discussing Animal People on ABC Radio National's The Book Show

Read a Q & A with Charlotte Wood on the Readings blog

Read an interview with Charlotte Wood at the Good Reading blog